Wichita State point guard Clevin Hannah doesn't mind cutting back on his workload a bit, especially because it means freshman Demetric Williams is playing well.
"It's a big plus for me to not play as many minutes when I don't have to," Hannah said after Friday's win over Drake. "D comes in and doesn't slack off on the defensive end, or the offensive end. That really helps with fatigue later in the season."
Hannah played 28 minutes on Friday after playing 30 or more in three of the previous four games. Williams helped out with a solid 17 after playing a mere five minutes at Illinois State on Tuesday. Against Drake, Williams helped the Shockers hold the Bulldogs to 18 second-half points. He defended leading scorer Josh Young, made a steal, scored five points and handed out an assist. His three turnovers don't look so bad when one considers two of them came in the final 1:11 with the outcome long decided.
"He gave us a nice spark," WSU coach Gregg Marshall said. "He was a pretty good defender. I loved the play where knocked the ball loose and went on the floor and got it in the second half."
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Marshall goes eight deep into his roster without hesitation or dropoff. Friday, Williams' play made the Shockers nine deep and provided good minutes at point guard, the one position they lack an experienced backup. He also played with Hannah for a time. That depth and versatility paid off when the Shockers wore down Drake in the second half. It is a tactic Marshall will rely on throughout the season. Williams, from Las Vegas, knows that playing time hinges on his defense.
"I'm trying to focus on defense when I first get in," he said. "Coach always tells me we need more guys to be able to put in the game. Clevin — it's not really good to have to play him so many minutes."
Williams got a mental refresher over the holiday when he went home. He talked with high school coach Teral Fair, who reminded him how he got to WSU.
"It was good to see that atmosphere where I'm from and come back a lot stronger," Williams said. "I was with him for four years in high school, and he's one of my favorite coaches. He told me to keep my defense up, because that's what I was mainly good at in high school."
Cold in Omaha — Creighton and coach Dana Altman define consistency in the MVC. Lock the Bluejays in for 20 wins and postseason play every season.
The Bluejays have some work to do to meet that standard. They are kicking away close games, turning the ball over too much and not making threes at their expected pace. Creighton is 5-8 overall and 0-2 in the MVC. The Jays play at Evansville today trying to avoid their first 0-3 MVC start since 1993-94.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the Bluejays called a team meeting in their hotel after Friday's loss at Indiana State. Creighton's starters combined to shoot 9 for 32 from the field against the Sycamores.
"We have to get this thing turned around," forward Casey Harriman told the World-Herald. "Some people think it's just going happen. That won't work. We have to do something about it."
Creighton did start 0-2 in 2007-08 before rallying to finish 10-8 and play in the NIT.
Keep building — WSU's indoor practice facility next to Eck Stadium is in use.
Next on the plans for baseball is swapping WSU's locker, dugout and offices from the first-base side to the third-base side, where they will connect to the new field house. The ticket office would also move to the first-base side of the stadium.
That phase of the project isn't exactly on hold, but it's not exactly in motion. Athletic director Eric Sexton is waiting for final costs on the practice facility before proceeding. The rough estimate for the next phase is $3-$3.3 million.
"We're still waiting to close the books (on the practice facility)," he said. "Then we will see where we're at. We're still moving forward."