MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — It wasn't exactly the tune-up contest Walters State was hoping for, but they played it through all the same. The Senators got to empty their bench and work out every player on the roster in a dominating 116-63 victory over Tennessee Wesleyan's junior varsity squad at 'Z' Buda Gymnasium and Assembly Hall Tuesday night.
"I don't like that kind of game," Walters State coach Bill Carlyle said. "What happens is, you can succeed and not be very good. If we could find tougher competition in this area, we would. They're just not here. We have to fill our schedule. But it's good to get everybody to play. I'm not sure you learn anything. Maybe you gain a little confidence. You run a little bit and get conditioned, but I'm afraid you learn more bad habits than good."
Walters State (9-2) wasted no time in taking over the game. It was tight for all of five minutes before the Senators began pulling away thanks to three pointers form Kajuan Hale and Deontae Davis. When they did miss from outside, Demontay Dixon was usually there to pick up the trash and tap it hope.
"They (Tennessee Wesleyan) play very hard and they try very hard, but they're the JV team," Carlyle said. "Not to take anything away from them. They did a nice job and made a lot of 3-pointers and we didn't defend it very well. If we're going to play Southwest and Dyersburg, we'll have to do a whole lot better."
As the first half buzzer sounded, Walters State had played 10 different players and led 45-26. It would never get closer than that in the second half.
"This early in the season, you're glad to get kids into the game that need to play," Carlyle said. "We started off well and then the defense in the second half let down a little bit. It was pretty much what you expect."
The Senators tossed back out their starters to open the second half and all but started up the Bulldogs' bus for them for the long drive home. A little more than five minutes in, Carlyle sent in the reserves but it did little to stop the bleeding for Tennessee Wesleyan.
Walters State ended with six players in double figures, with three coming off the bench. Dixon led all scorers with 18 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Westin Reynolds finished with a double-double off the pine, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kajuan Hale got a double-double of his own with 15 points and 10 assists.
Miles Thomas put in 12 points and Kobe Powell had 10. The standout bench player of the early season for Carlyle's crew has been Jaden Lewis. Tuesday night he scored 15 points and had five assists as a reserve. Lewis has made the most of his opportunity in these lopsided games.
"We've found Jaden Lewis," Carlyle said. "He's coming on, playing really well. He's a back up, but he's performed for us in the easy games."
While the Bulldogs were never seriously in the game, they did improve in the second half, putting in 33 points. Taurean Jones finished the game with 13 points, with 10 coming in the second half. Braven Horton scored 11, with 9 coming in the second period. Chris Fayne scored 12.
Walters State travels to Southwest Tennessee Friday night for a 6:30 p.m. TCCAA showdown against the Saluqis.