MORRISTOWN, TN – Walters State saw their season come to an end on Tuesday evening, falling to Cleveland State 85-77 in the TCCAA tournament quarterfinals.
The Senators had a 44-31 lead at the half but were outscored 54-33 in the final 20 minutes. They end the season with a record of 12-6.
“We just didn’t play any defense in the second half,” Walters State coach Bill Carlyle said. “Their 1-3-1 (zone defense) gave us issues and we started jacking things up and not going to the boards. The big kill was that we quit playing half-court defense.
“It’s a shame because we played really well in the first half. I thought we did exactly what we wanted to do. In the second half though, we just had way too many turnovers.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Senators as they played a near perfect opening 20 minutes. In the first half, Walters State had 11 assists as opposed to just six turnovers. Tylar Haynes was 8-8 from the field while De’Marius Boyd was 4-5.
However, the Senators shot just 38.7% in the second half and turned the ball over eight times. Meanwhile, the Cougars shot 54.3% in the half and had just three turnovers.
In the scoring column, Deovaunta Williams led the way with 23 points and six assists. Haynes was right behind him with 22 points on 11-15 shooting and had seven rebounds and four blocks. Boyd added 14 points.
Things started off quick for the Senators as Boyd hit his first shot of the game just 11 seconds in and Haynes followed suit with a layup.
From there, Walters State got two baskets from Williams to go up 10-4 and force a Cleveland State timeout.
The Senators would continue to put the pressure on and, after Cleveland State cut it to three, went on a 7-0 run that pushed the lead to 10.
That lead would quickly expand to 15 on two Haynes layups and a Williams layup with 4:14 to go in the half. From there, Walters State continued to have a comfortable hold on the game and led 44-31 at the break.
However, the Senators could not sustain the momentum. While they still led by 12 with 14:28 to go in the game, Cleveland State began to chip away and had the lead down to one just two minutes later. The Cougars would take their first lead with 10:30 to go and never trailed again. The Senators kept it close for awhile but ran out of gas as the Cougars made their free throws down the stretch.