2019 Gulf South Conference Champions
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Delta State University men’s basketball team held the University of Alabama in Huntsville to their lowest point total since November, as the Statesmen (19-11) claimed their sixth Gulf South Conference championship with a 64-60 victory at the Pete Hanna Center on Sunday, March 10. Cedric Harper led the Statesmen with 17 points with Matthew Wilson (16), Brett Warner (16) and Armon Benford (10) joining him in double figure. Seth Swalve and J.J. Kaplan led UAH with 13 points apiece.
Delta State awaits its official seeding in the upcoming NCAA Division II National Tournament, as the Statesmen earned the GSC’s automatic bid. The field of 64 teams will be announced later tonight at 9:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Score: Delta State 64 | Alabama Huntsville 60
Records: Statesmen 19-11 (No. 5) | Chargers 24-7 (No. 3)
Series: DSU leads 21-18
Location | Time: Pete Hanna Center | 3:30 PM
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The first 4:18 of the half belonged to both teams’ defenses, as the Chargers held a 5-4 edge with 15:42 on the clock.
- Armon Benford’s four points and a 3-pointer from Matthew Wilson lept the UAH lead at two, 11-9, at the 11:28 media timeout. J.J. Kaplan led UAH with seven.
- Justin Slocum’s driving basket tied the game at 11-11 and Cedric Harper’s rebound and put-back gave the Statesmen their first lead at 13-11.
- After UAH reclaimed the lead on Malik Cook-Stroupe’s 3-pointer, the Statesmen answered with a 3-pointer by Wilson to go back up 16-14.
- A quick 7-0 run by UAH built a five-point lead for the Chargers, 21-16, with 5:27 to go in the half.
- Delta State used the power game from Harper over the next five minutes to tie the game at 24-24 at halftime. The senior from Tallahassee, Fla., was 5-for-5 from the floor during that stretch.
- UAH shot 39.1 percent in the first half, as the Statesmen held the Chargers to 9-of-23 from the floor and 3-of-10 from 3-point range. Kaplan led UAH with seven points at the break.
- DSU connected on 11-of-26 from the floor for 42.3 percent, but struggled from 3-point range, making just 2-of-12. Harper’s 10 paced the Statesmen followed by Wilson with six.
- The Chargers out-rebounded the Statesmen 20-10 in the first half, but DSU’s pressure forced UAH into nine turnovers.
- The offensive pace picked up dramatically in the first 6:30 of the second half, as UAH led 35-34 at the 13:39 media timeout. Warner had eight of DSU’s 10 points.
- Harper’s old school 3-point play gave the Statesmen a brief 38-35 lead, but UAH answered with a 3-pointer from Max Shulman to tie the game up for a 10th time with 11:51 to go.
- Both teams continued to trade baskets, but with 8:11 to play a 3-pointer by Wilson and layup from Harper put the Statesmen up 47-42.
- DSU used an 8-0 run to build a 55-45 lead with 2:34 to go.
- UAH came right back with a 10-2 run to cut it to 57-53 with 55.3 seconds remaining.
- The Statesmen iced the win by going 7-for-8 at the free throw line, including 4-for-4 by Benford to claim the 64-60 win.
- DSU shot 46.2 percent for the game while holding UAH to 40.7 percent from the floor and 30.8 from 3-point range. The Chargers made just 8-of-26 from 3-point range while DSU was 7-of-22.
- Delta State held UAH off the scoreboard for 5:38 from 7:55 to 2:27 while building a 10-point lead, 55-45.
STAT OF THE GAME
- The Statesmen were 7-of-8 at the free throw line in the final 55 seconds.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Matthew Wilson was named the GSC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player while Cedric Harper and Brett Warner joined him on the All-Tournament Team.
- The Statesmen were making a GSC-record 14th appearance in the finals on Sunday and their second-consecutive berth. DSU has appeared in the league title game in 2019, 2018, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1993, 1987, and 1986.
- Delta State added to its GSC-best five tournament championships, as the Statesmen hoisted the trophy for the sixth time. DSU won the crown in 1986, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2019. Alabama Huntsville owns three GSC championships, claiming the trophy in 2012, 2015 and 2017.
- Delta State awaits its official seeding in the upcoming NCAA Division II National Tournament, as the Statesmen earned the GSC’s automatic bid. The field of 64 teams will be announced later tonight at 9:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.