The Statesmen dominated all facets of the game against the West Georgia Wolves in a 76-59 win in Gulf South Conference action. Delta State improved to 10-2 with a 3-1 mark in the GSC, while West Georgia fell to 10-2 with a 3-1 mark in the conference.
The Statesmen jumped out on the Wolves early by taking an 11-0 lead in the first three minutes and 13 seconds of the game. DSU was able to take a 35-16 advantage with 5:29 left in the first half, but West Georgia battled back to cut DSU’s lead down to 38-26 at halftime. The Wolves were able to cut the Statesmen’s lead down to eight points early in the second half, but the Statesmen charged back to push their lead up to as much as 19 points.
“I thought one of the big keys today was getting off to a really good start, and we couldn’t have gotten of to a better start than what we did,” Statesmen head coach Jim Boone said. “I really think the mark of a good team is to take a 10 point lead to 15 and then 15 to 20. I thought our guys did a really good job of that in the first half.
“I thought what happened at the end of the first half was good for us, because we kind of relaxed,” Boone continued. “We weren’t playing with the same intensity that we had the first 16 or 17 minutes. In that start of the second half, we really reestablished that and came out with great intensity and a ton of energy.”
The Statesmen did a great job under the basket by outrebounding the Wolves 52-35.
Delta State shot 73.1 percent (19-of-26) from the free throw line and 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point range. DSU’s defense also held West Georgia to just 34.7 percent (25-of-72) shooting from the floor. The Statesmen shot 44.6 percent in the field.
Willie Readus turned in his usual performance by scoring a game-high 23 points with 14 rebounds for the Statesmen, followed by Devin Schmidt with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The Statesmen got some great play from sophomore forward Zelvin Smith off the bench as he scored 12 points with seven rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
“Zelvin was really active, and he’s working his way back in,” Boone said. “He just started playing here on December 14th in games. It takes a little bit of time. Today was good for him.”
Mike Washington aided DSU’s attack with eight points and eight rebounds, followed by Jack Madgen with eight points and three rebounds and Cornell Knight with six points, five rebounds and a game-high five assists.
For West Georgia, Deonta Stocks led the way with 17 points, followed by Deontre Brown with 14 points.
DSU will return to the basketball court on Monday when they host Shorter in a GSC game at 4 p.m. in Cleveland.