JACKSON, Tenn. – The Delta State University men’s basketball team defeated Union University, on the road, Saturday, Feb. 22 by a score of 77-71 to clinch the Gulf South Conference regular season crown.
The Statesmen went 24-26 from the free throw line in the game to help preserve the victory over the Bulldgos. From the field, DSU shot 51 percent while holding Union to 37 percent.
Delta was lead by Willie Readus, who had 20 points. Devin Schmidt added 16 points including 12 from the free-throw line. Cornel Knight had 13 points and Jack Madgen contributed 12.
The Statesmen jumped out of the gates quickly with a 3-point shot from Madgen and a layup from Readus. DSU continued to push the tempo with two slam dunks from Mike Washington.
Union settled down and slowly began to make shots behind Ashanti Day, who had eight points in the first half. Post player Paul Valdor contributed six points, as well, in the first half.
Readus dominated the paint in the first half with 10 points and four rebounds. Knight added six more points as the Statesmen shot 50 percent from the field in the first half to lead 34-29 at halftime.
In the second half, a couple of quick buckets from AJ Roberts for Union cut the lead down to three points early on. Then two free throws from Schmidt pushed the momentum back toward the Statesmen.
Jumpers from Readus and Washington pushed the lead back out to nine points with 13 minutes left in the game.
Schimdt continued to make free throws as he went 12-12 from the line on the night. As a team, the Statesmen made their last 10 free throws.
Union cut the lead down the three with 1:19 left on a four point play by Roberts, but the Statesmen did not lose focus and made their free throws to keep ahead, winning 77-71.
With two games left to play, Delta State holds a three game lead on the University of North Alabama and the Univeristy of West Alabama. The win over the Bulldogs clinched the regular season crown for DSU.
The Statesmen return home on Thursday, Feb. 27 to face Valdosta State University at Walter Sillers Coliseum, with the tip set for 7:30 p.m.