MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — Walters State used a 60-point second half to knock off league-leading Dyersburg State, 104-98, Saturday afternoon at 'Z' Buda Gymnasium.
Khiry Shelton poured in 30 points to lead five Senators in double figures as they improved to 17-6 overall and 8-3 in Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play. They are now tied with the losing Eagles for second in the league with Motlow State on top at 7-2 going into a late game on Saturday.
Shelton scored 22 of his points in a red-hot first half and then Miles Thomas poured through 15 after intermission and finished with 21. Kobe Powell scored all 14 of his points in the second half while Seth Lenard-Battle added 13 and Kajuan Hale 12.
The Eagles' Aaron King gunned through six treys and took game scoring honors with 30. Myron McKinney hit five more three-pointers and totaled 22 as Dyersburg fell to 17-4 for the season. Antwan Beans added 17.
It was a battle that saw the Senators do most of their damage near the baskets while the visitors relied on the long ball, hitting 16 of 44 on 3-pointers.
Walters State coach Bill Carlyle said, "This was a big victory for us, knocking off the No. 1 team in the conference. Dyersburg is pretty good. They really battled and shot the three excellent.
"We had the game won with a 10-point lead and all we had to do was take care of the basketball and throw it around some," he said. "But my guys wanted to get fouled and then they go down and hit a three. We let them get back in the game.
"I've said all year long that we have to play a lot smarter basketball than we do at times," he said.
Carlyle said he had some people play very well today. "Shelton played very well and Miles had a good game especially with him being a little under the weather.
"I'm getting some time out of Josh Dykes and Seth played very well today. In fact, it was a good team win. A lot of people contributed today, we just didn't play very smart."
The coach said it was a unique matchup. "They don't match up with our big guys very well when we have the ball but our big guys can't get out and keep them from shooting the three and that's something they are really good at.
"But overall, I'm happy to get a big win. We beat a good basketball team today."
With Shelton hitting 13 of 15, the Senators finished at 42-70 from the floor for a hot 60 percent. They were 5 of 10 behind the arc but Powell hit all four of his attempts.
Dyersburg wound up making 34 of 75 for 45.3 percent. The Senators had a huge 41-24 rebounding edge with Demontay Dixon grabbing 10. Thomas, Shelton and Battle all got six.
The Eagles took an early 12-6 lead and led by 18-14 on a basket by Robert Atkins with 14:42 left in the half. An old-fashioned three-point play by Battle put the Senators in front and a pair of charity tosses by Shelton at the 13:10 mark extended the lead to five at 28-23.
Shelton did most of the scoring for the home team as the Senators would build a small lead and then the Eagles would knock down a three to stay in it. Dyersburg finally caught up at 37-37 on King's triple from the right corner.
But Hale took the ball to the hoop and scored, Battle put in a short jumper and Shelton added a free throw and Walters State led 44-41 at halftime.
Dyersburg led 52-50 after hitting three straight from long range in a 9-2 run. This time, the Senators answered with a 15-5 spurt as Battle and Thomas scored twice each and Dixon connected inside before Battle drove the lane for a dunk and Powell bombed in a three.
A nine-point run minutes later turned the three-point game into a 79-67 advantage with 7:31 left. But the Eagles kept battling and a three by Beans sliced the margin all the way down to three at 101-98 with 15.7 left in the game.
Thomas then made one free throw and the Eagles missed a three with Hale grabbing the rebound and making two free throws to end it with 3.5 to play.