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Commentary Bob Lutz: Williams becoming steady contributor for WSU

  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, at 11:54 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at 9:17 a.m.

Photos

Shocker report

Wednesday’s box

Evansville (74)

MinFG-AFT-AOR-TRAPFPT
Sawvell256-81-21-20413
Taylor312-40-01-5454
Ryan396-182-21-30417
Harris345-97-81-44318
Holmes292-73-31-2548
Nelson10-20-00-0000
Jones80-20-00-1100
Cox182-73-32-3157
Cesnulevicius153-31-41-1027
Totals20026-6017-2210-28152774

Percentages: FG .433, FT .773. 3-Point Goals: 5-14, .357 (Ryan 3-7, Harris 1-1, Holmes 1-4, Cox 0-1, Nelson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Blocked Shots: 3 (Harris 2, Cesnulevicius). Turnovers: 10 (Cox 3, Ryan 3, Cesnulevicius, Harris, Nelson, Taylor). Steals: 4 (Harris 2, Cesnulevicius, Ryan). Technical Fouls: None.

Wichita State (86)

MinFG-AFT-AOR-TRAPFPT
Ragland161-25-60-1248
Williams341-54-40-31027
Hall275-72-51-42212
Murry356-101-20-31114
Stutz279-115-70-80123
Smith201-22-21-4324
Orukpe71-10-00-3032
Kyles254-63-30-20112
Cotton91-22-30-0114
Totals20029-4624-323-30191786

Percentages: FG .630, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 4-9, .444 (Ragland 1-1, Williams 1-1, Murry 1-2, Kyles 1-3, Stutz 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 7 (Murry 3, Stutz 2, Orukpe, Kyles). Turnovers: 12 (Murry 4, Hall 2, Orukpe 2, Stutz 2, Williams). Steals: 4 (Murry 2, Williams, Kyles). Technical Fouls: None.

Evansville344074
Wichita St.513586

Att.–10,219. Officials–David Hall, Bo Borowski, Jeff Malham.

Century mark

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall won his 100th game as a Shocker, getting to that mark in 158 games in four-plus sesaons.

He is the fourth to do so, and only Gene Smithson (142) did it faster.

“At the end of each day, you’re glad he is on your side and you’re not going against him,” WSU center Garrett Stutz said. “Some days you hate him. Some days you wish he would leave you alone. He’s a great coach.”

Marshall also went 194-83 in nine seasons at Winthrop, making his career totals 294-141.

At WSU, only Ralph Miller (220-133), Smithson (155-81) and Mark Turgeon (128-90) own more wins. It took Miller 165 games and Turgeon 171 to reach 100.

“He’s a great coach for us,” WSU guard Toure Murry said. “He pushes us every day. He has many more to come.”

Back to play

Marshall found out this afternoon that Stutz would play. He missed Saturday’s game against Southern Illinois with a strained rhomboid muscle, a back injury that hurt his movement and affected his ability to move his left arm.

“They told me at shoot-around,” Marshall said. “He felt really good, and getting better. Hopefully, we didn’t have a setback tonight.”

If so Stutz didn’t reveal anything.

“I don’t really want to talk about the injury right now,” he said. “I’ve been answering questions for the last week about it. Nothing’s really changed. we’ll just go from here.”

The time off from practice did have consequences on the defensive end when Stutz said he read the wrong play and gave up a basket or two. On offense, he looked fresn and sharp.

“I blew a couple of defensive assignments,” he said. “It’s not fun to do it. I’d much rather be prepared and go through all the practices.”

Stutz is 21 of 25 from the field in two games against Evansville this season, averaging 26 points.

On the line

WSU outscored Evansville 24-17 at the line, its seventh straight edge in that statistic. In the previous matchup with Evansville, both teams made 11 free throws.

The Shockers are taking maximum advantage of their time at the line. In their past six games, they are 111 of 144 (77.1 percent) from the line.

Evansville entered the game outscoring its opponents 368-293 at the line.

Worth noting

WSU defeated the Aces for the 11th straight time in Wichita and won for the 16th time in the past 19 meetings. Shocker guard David Kyles scored 12 points off the bench, his fourth game in double figures in the past five. Kyles is 11 of 23 from three-poinnt range in those games. WSU’s eight-game win streak matches one earlier in the season. Its longest streak under Marshall is nine games in 2009-10.

— Paul Suellentrop

WSU beats Evansville 86-74 at Koch Arena Wednesday

Click here to see the video in full screen or to e-mail to a friend.

There are a lot of numbers to consider for Wichita State junior point guard Demetric Williams.

The 10 assists he had during the Shockers’ 86-74 win over Evansville on Wednesday night at Koch Arena. The 1-of-5 shooting. The one turnover in 34 minutes.

But the number that stands out most is the 3.0-plus grade-point average Williams earned during the fall semester. He was one of several dozen Shocker athletes — including two from the men’s basketball team – who were announced as President’s Honor Roll members during halftime.

“You know, the last couple of semesters I haven’t been doing too good academically,’’ Williams said. “So I really focused on school and getting my education.’’

And when he received an A in an algebra class, after making up an incomplete in the class during the Shockers’ road travels in January, he broke the 3.0 GPA barrier.

It’s a sign of not only Williams’ growing maturity in the classroom, but also on the basketball floor. He’s a player who has had to fight for minutes since arriving from Las Vegas three years ago.

And the more Williams fought, it seemed, the more difficult it became for him to sustain his playing time.

“He’s maturing every day in practice and in every game,’’ WSU coach Gregg Marshall said of Williams, who has lately moved into the starting lineup because of his defensive abilities. “But it’s still a work in progress. The best thing about Demetric is how competitive he is. But that can sometimes come across a little negatively.’’

Competition fuels Williams, but it also causes him to stall out on occasion. When he is goaded by an opponent, Williams often tries to retaliate instead of staying the course.

He forces up bad shots — one of his first-half attempts Wednesday night was a real clunker — and loses focus. But it’s not nearly as prevalent as it used to be and Williams might have played the best floor game of his career against the Purple Aces.

“I knew Evansville likes to pack their defense in the paint and take a lot of charges,’’ Williams said. “So tonight I just wanted to be under control and dish the ball off. I was able to do that successfully and my teammates were finishing.’’

Williams had several hook-ups with 7-foot senior center Garrett Stutz, whose 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting led the Shockers. Seven of Williams’ 10 assists came in that first half, when WSU was building a 51-34 lead.

He also started the game defensively on Evansville junior guard Colt Ryan, the nation’s fifth-leading scorer at 21.2 points. But with Williams hounding him early, and Toure Murry taking his turn, Ryan didn’t score his first basket, a three-pointer, until 7:52 remained in the first half.

“Demetric was a whirling dervish out there,’’ Marshall said. “Now he’s not shooting it great. That one jumper he had and the transition attempt with his left hand were not good.’’

My sense is that Marshall doesn’t give a hoot about how many points Williams scores, and that he’ll take the assists and defense any day.

Williams’ 10 dishes were six more than he has had in a game this season and the first double-digit assist total for any Shocker since Clevin Hannah had 10 against Illinois State on Jan. 21, 2009.

“I’m real proud of Demetric for the 3.0 and he’s really coming around as a player, too,’’ Marshall said. “He’s so much more fun to be around now. He doesn’t have these mood swings where he sulks a little bit from time to time because he’s getting a chance to play and he’s playing well. He’s evolving and hopefully we haven’t seen the end of his evolution.’’

Often, it takes a while for college players to settle in. Look at Stutz, who is having by far his best season — an All-Missouri Valley Conference season — as a senior.

Look at Murry, who has taken on a much bigger leadership role as a senior.

As a junior, Williams might even be ahead of schedule.

“Tonight I did the primary things I was asked to do,’’ he said. “I always pride myself on defense and tonight I was able to dish out a lot of assists. It all worked out good.’’

Check Bob Lutz’s blog at blogs.kansas.com/lutz. Reach him at 316-269-6597 or blutz@wichitaeagle.com.

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