Statesmen reach 20-win plateau
by Donell Maxie
Feb 14, 2014 | 1608 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The No. 21 Delta State University Statesmen got a big night from Willie Readus and Devin Schmidt on Thursday as they cruised to a 75-57 win over the Lee University Flames.

Schmidt led the team with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Readus finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists to help improve the Statesmen to a 20-3 record with a 13-2 mark in the Gulf South Conference. Lee fell to 8-12 with a 4-10 mark in the conference.

The win also gave the Statesmen their first 20-win season since the team went 21-9 during the 2008-2009 season.

The Statesmen started out in a tough battle, holding a slim 19-15 lead with 7:41 remaining in the first half.

The Statesmen's defense picked up behind the play of Zelvin Smith Jr. off the bench with two huge blocks that seemed to ignite the crowd and the team.

The team used the energy burst to push its lead to 33-20 with 3:33 left in the first half behind a three-point basket from Schmidt.

The Statesmen got their lead up to 20 points at 42-22 at halftime.

Delta State was strong defensively in the first half holding Lee to just 28 percent from the floor (7-of-25).

On the flip side, the Statesmen shot 50 percent from the floor (12-of-24) and 60 percent from the three-point line (3-5).

The second half saw a marked improvement from Lee, but the damage had already been done in the first half as the Statesmen were able to keep the Flames at bay.

The biggest difference in the game came inside as the Statesmen outscored the Flames 38-28 in the paint.

Delta State finished the night shooting 52 percent from the floor (26-50) including 5-of-9 from the three-point line. The Statesmen were also 18-of-26 from the free throw line.

Smith, Jr. finished with 11 points and four rebounds to aid DSU, followed by Alister Chisholm with seven points and Cornel Knight with six points, five rebounds and two steals.

The Statesmen will return to action on Monday as they welcome Christian Brothers University to the Walter Sillers Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.