JACKSON, Tenn. — WaltersState used a huge run over the final 12-plus minutes of the first half to gain a big halftime lead and never looked back in taking a 101-82 victory on the road at Jackson State Saturday evening in a Tennessee Community College Athletic Association men's basketball contest.
After a close back and forth opening to the game, Walters State took the lead for good before the midway point of the first half and used a balanced attack throughout the game to keep pace in the top half of the TCCAA standings after suffering a tough loss at Columbia State on Friday.
With the win, the Senators improved to 18-7 overall and 9-4 in TCCAA play, while the loss dropped the Green Jays to 9-14 on the year and 1-12 in league action.
The Senators battled through four ties and eight lead changes in the first half to pull away, leading by as much as 18 in the half before taking a 51-35 lead at halftime. Seth Lenard-Battle gave WSCC the lead on a layup with 12:40 left in the half, sparking a 37-20 run to close the frame.
Miles Thomas bolstered a balanced scoring offense for the Senators in the first half with 11 points, while Paris Taylor and Lenard-Battle both added 9 and Khiry Shelton had 8. WSCC shot 55.9 percent (19 of 34) from the field in the half and connected on 12 of 15 from the foul line. Thomas and Kajuan Hale had 4 steals apiece in the opening 20 minutes, all part of Jackson State's 14 first half turnovers.
The Green Jays shot just 36 percent (9 of 25) in the opening frame, making 6 of 16 from deep and 11 of 12 at the stripe. Zach Lewis led Jackson State with 10 points in the half, while Famous Jones added 8.
The home team never had a run in them in the second half, as Walters State eventually pulled out to a 29-point lead at 92-63 with 6:31 left in the game. After giving up the first basket of the second half, WSCC never led by less than 14 the rest of the way.
The Senators shot 56.7 percent (38 of 67) from the floor in the win, making 3 of 6 on 3-point attempts and 22 of 28 at the free throw line. Taylor led WSCC with 20 points and 6 rebounds, while Thomas finished with 19 points, Lenard-Battle had 16, Shelton tallied 13 and Demontay Dixon had 11. Kajuan Hale narrowly missed a double-double, as he ended up with 8 points and 10 assists.
Jackson State shot 46.7 percent (28 of 60) from the field, making 10 of 27 from long range and 16 of 21 on free throws. Kelan Jones led the home team with 16 points, while Jones and Lewis had 14 apiece and TJ Sawyer ended up with a dozen.
The Senators will be back on the home hardwood on Friday evening for a 7:30 p.m. contest against TCCAA rival Volunteer State on Veteran's Night at Walters State.