Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Walker's fiery halftime talk sparks UIS men

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker admits he let his team have it at halftime Saturday.

Whatever words he used, Walker’s message was heard loud and clear. The Prairie Stars came alive in the second half and pulled off a 79-63 win over William Jewell in a Great Lakes Valley Conference game at The Recreation and Athletic Center.

“We needed that, definitely,” UIS senior guard Jamall Millison said about Walker’s halftime speech.

Senior guard JJ Cravatta said Walker got the team’s attention. “That was the turning point for us,” Cravatta said. “To let us know to take this stuff personally.”

Walker had reasons to go into the locker room less than pleased. He was unhappy with the effort, and UIS made just eight of its 29 shots from the field in the first half. Despite shooting 27.6 percent, UIS only trailed 37-30 at halftime.

“In 27 years, I probably threw the biggest tantrum I’ve ever thrown and I’m a little embarrassed by it,” Walker said. “I said, ‘You can’t let bad shooting affect your defense. We were missing shots and our defense dropped off. We really went flat (in the first half). Our energy translated into our shooting.”

A spirited late push led to UIS earning its first conference win of the season. 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points. Freshman center Zach Steinberg contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cravatta had 13 points.

The story was featured in The State-Journal-Register on January 17, 2016.

Read the article online