It was a tale of two halves for the Walters State men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon against Columbia State.
The first half for the Senators saw a back-and-forth affair where the lead shifted multiple times. However, the second half was all WSCC as they took down Columbia State 97-85 at ‘Z’ Buda Gymnasium on homecoming.
“It’s great to get a conference win on homecoming,” head coach Bill Carlyle said. “We played with a lot of heart, but there’s a lot of things we need to do better. We do hustle and play hard though, and tonight was a good win.”
After Columbia State scored the first basket of the game, Walters State’s Demarius Boyd took over, scoring five straight points, capping his run off with a stolen inbounds pass and an and-one to put the Senators up 7-2.
After the run from Boyd, the Senators struggled to find consistency. While WSCC led for much of the half, the lead grew to no greater than seven. Late in the half, Columbia State took a two-point lead, but Boyd re-entered the game and took a one-point lead into the break. Boyd had seven first half points.
Kobe Powell ran the point for Walters State (3-2, 1-1 TCCAA) effectively, finishing with 20 points and two assists. Powell started the game in place of Sly Thompson who was out after picking up two technical fouls against Chattanooga State.
“Kobe came in and did a great job,” Carlyle said. “We missed Sly big, but Kobe played well and controlled the game.”
The second half saw a different Walters State team. After getting down immediately to start the half, the Senators took over. Paris Taylor and Anthony Jones took control down low and the Senators built up a 65-55 lead.
After the Senators pushed the lead to 10, Columbia State tried in vain to claw back into the into the game, but Walters State would not slow down. The Senators scored 49 points in the second half and held Columbia State to 39.
Walters State took advantage at the free-throw line as well, going 21-of-33 from the line. Carlyle still wants to see his team improve at the charity stripe.
“Free throws have killed us all year,” Carlyle said. “That’s something that we should be able to get better at. We did it a little better tonight.”
The Senators used their defense to clamp down on the Chargers. WSCC forced 19 turnovers and got Columbia State frustrated and out of their offense.
“What we did in the second half was go to our 2-2 press and then our two half court, and I thought we got some easy baskets off that making them turn the ball over. We did shoot it better in the second half.”
With two minutes to go in the game, the Senators put it on ice. After a missed shot, Jones got the long rebound and fed it to Powell. Powell tossed the ball to Boyd who threw it up to Jones for a thunderous alley-oop.
Boyd led the team with 21 points while Powell had 20. Jones had 14 points as well and led the team in rebounds with eight.
“Everyone one of our players busted his tail,” Carlyle said. “They play hard, but we just have to get to the point where we can run an offense and sustain a defense. We’ll just keep on keeping on though.”
Walters State will be back in action on Wednesday as they take on Motlow State at 7:30 p.m. at ‘Z’ Buda Gymnasium.