WSU junior Ehimen Orukpe.The score: WSU 82, Emporia State 43
Key stats: WSU forced 12 turnovers in the second half, helping it make nine layups as part of its 50-point effort.
At the start of the Gregg Marshall era, freshmen Evan Wessel, Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Jake White would have been in the mix to start. Now WSU has the luxury to bring them along slowly, maximize their strengths and hide their weaknesses. That doesn’t mean they aren’t capable, as Tuesday showed. White struggled with fouls, but he may be the rookie who plays the most because of flux in the frontcourt. It won’t be easy for White to guard quicker players away from the basket, but he will improve over time. He’s got the offensive skills to help. It’s not hard to see the freshmen who don’t redshirt as regular parts of the rotation. Cotton looked good defensively and handled point guard even though Marshall doesn’t consider it his best role.Carl Hall did his job with 10 rebounds. He made all five of his free throws. He figures to get to the line a lot.Joe Ragland seemed to set the tempo on defense to start the second half. Class issues aside, Marshall has been high on Ragland’s work and he showed why on Tuesday – 10 points, six assists, five rebounds, no turnovers in 16 minutes.WSU’s best looks came early in the second half when it went small and veteran and turned up the defense. With Ragland, Kyles and Demetric Williams on the court, WSU can run by a lot of teams and get easy shots. That lineup also featured Ben Smith, who can run or be the guy who spots up from three on a secondary break. That will be, especially early, a lineup Marshall trusts.Williams continues to play, in public exhibitions, at a better tempo than last season. We’re not seeing him force shots or drive out of control to the basket.Eagle columnist Bob Lutz notices the buzz in Koch Arena that EO’s presence produces.
Quote“The best thing he does is guard,” Marshall said.” When people are getting beat on the bounce, it’s rarely Tekele Cotton.”What’s next: WSU opens the season against Charleston Southern on Sunday