Thursday, December 7, 2017

UIS Basketball: Despite UIS’ hot start, Walker seeks fast start

University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball coach Bill Walker shook things up last Saturday after seven straight games with the same starting lineup.

It didn’t matter that the Prairie Stars had posted five consecutive victories and nearly upset Southern Illinois University.

Bill Walker brought junior guard Vince Walker and junior center Zach Steinberg off the bench in an 82-78 win over Missouri S&T in its opening Great Lakes Valley Conference game.

Steinberg had made seven starts, while Vince Walker had started in eight games. Sophomore guard Lijah Donnelly and sophomore Brandon Van Sant started in their places.

Bill Walker was concerned about slow starts so he switched up the lineup.

“We were winning games, but we just weren’t getting off to the starts we want,” he said.

Both UIS basketball programs are off to solid starts.

The women’s team is 6-1, ranked first in the NCAA Division II with 8.3 blocked shots per game and this week it earned its first regional ranking in program history. It is tied for ninth in the Midwest Region poll.

“We’ve talked to the team about we’re winning games, but we can still improve and there are things we can get better at throughout the season,” UIS women’s coach Mark Kost said.

UIS is accepting donations during December home basketball games for the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Toy/Gift Drive. Players will deliver the items and visit with the kids on Dec. 19.

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on December 6, 2017.

Read the entire article online.