GALLATIN — Walters State built a four-point lead in the first period and rode it the rest of the game, holding on for an 83-79 victory over TCCAA rival Volunteer State Saturday.
The Senators (9-4, 4-2 TCCAA) did most of their damage around the net, shooting 47.5 percent for the game. They were far less effective from three-point range, shooting just 26.1 percent and sinking 6-of-23 threes. They did get the job done at the free throw line and that made all the difference. WSCC was 82.6 percent from the charity stripe, hitting 19-of-23. Their defense was solid and mistake free as Volunteer State (3-7, 0-5) shot just seven free throws in the entire contest.
Walters State built a quick 5-0 lead to open the game with buckets from Kobe Powell and a free throw from Demarius Boyd. The Senators kept a cushion of five or more for most of the first half. When the Pioneers cut the lead to two on a three from Austin Fisher nearly five minutes in, Paris Taylor hit a layup and followed it with a dunk to put the Senators up by six.
With three minutes to go in the first, Walters State pushed its lead to six, 42-34 with a three from Rae Foreman. A three from Izayel Pierre put them up 45-39 before Zack Morris tapped in a layup for VSCC to make the score 45-41 at the half.
The two teams traded baskets for the whole second half, with the Pioneers briefly taking the lead 56-55 six and a half minutes in on a Justin Goodson layup. Two Boyd free throws put WSCC back ahead for good.
Vol State got as close as one with a Morris three with 22 seconds to go, but Boyd hit a free throw with 16 seconds on the clock and a missed Fisher three resulted in two Anthony Jones free throws to close out the game with four seconds left.
Taylor led WSCC with 18 points. Tyler Arnold contributed 10. Jones was a point and a rebound away from a double-double with nine and nine. Boyd and Powell finished with nine points apiece.
Goodson was good for 23 points for Volunteer State. Fisher had 18 and Morris scored 12.
The Senators face off against Cape Fear Community College Friday in the 10th Annual Holiday Classic at Brunswick Community College in Bolivia, N.C. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.