Marshall basketball: Kane struggles with shot, excels elsewhere
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall guard DeAndre Kane looked at the box score from the Thundering Herd's 70-67 win Wednesday over Morehead State and shook his head again.
His eyes were fixated on his 5-for-20 shooting from the floor and 3-for-9 shooting from the free throw line. His head had started shaking in disbelief at the interview table and hadn't stopped as he stood in the hallway of the Cam Henderson Center.
He looked at the reporter in front of him and asked him to give Herd fans a message.
"I won't keep missing," he said. "Just jot that down."
Kane's shooting fortunes haven't been very bright since his 33-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist performance in Marshall's loss to Hofstra.
His off-night Wednesday came on the heels of Saturday's win over Nevada, where he hit 3-of-14 shots both from the floor and the free throw line.
Yet, while his shots may not fall, he has to be happy with his numbers in other categories. Kane's all-around game is flourishing, and he remains an integral part of the team as the Herd (4-3) prepares to host the North Carolina-Wilmington (3-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kane admits his shooting touch isn't where it should be.
"My shot's kind of off right now," he said. "That's something I have to work on. I have to get back in the gym and get my stroke back together. It'll fall. It'll come."
His return to the gym didn't take long.
Just like after the Nevada win, the junior guard was back on the Henderson Center floor following Wednesday's win, shooting basket after basket. Despite shooting just 25 percent from the floor and 33 percent from the line against Morehead State, he still found a way to score 13 points, his fifth double-digit performance in seven games.
But it's everywhere else that's made him so essential. The All-Conference-USA first-team preseason selection had seven assists and eight rebounds against the Eagles, as he's primarily been playing point guard now that freshman Kareem Canty is ineligible this season. Against Nevada, he had 13 assists against just two turnovers.
Kane's 62 assists lead Division I and his 8.9 assists per game rank him third. He's also averaging 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. His 16 points per game leads the team.
"He's a playmaker," Marshall center Nigel Spikes said. "He can affect the game in multiple ways. When his shot's not falling, I always tell him to keep his head up and keep playing hard. There's other ways he can impact the game and help us win."
Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said Kane has never been a one-dimensional player, but something has changed in the Pittsburgh native now that he's gotten older. He no longer lets a bad shooting night infect his passing, rebounding or defense.
"This has been the evolution of the kid," Herrion said. "He's in a struggle both shooting and with free throws right now. At times, maybe in the first year-and-a-half, he'd let it affect him and not allow himself to impact the game in other areas. He's shown maturity. He's grown in that area."
The Herd could use Kane's all-encompassing game against UNCW. The Seahawks rebounded from three straight losses to post back-to-back wins over Wofford and Hampton. Kane said he'll keep working to raise his shooting to match the other aspects of his game.
"I'm just going at it every day, practicing hard, playing hard," Kane said. "If my shot's not falling, I'll find another way to get into the game. If that's rebounding or getting an assist, whatever it is."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at email@example.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.