The Delta State University Statesmen played valiantly but came up short a little bit short in the Gulf South Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala. this weekend.
After upsetting top seeded Valdosta State University 63-59 on Saturday in the semifinals, the Statesmen dropped a heartbreaker to West Florida 71-65 in double overtime in the championship game of the tournament Sunday. The double overtime contest was the first in championship history.
West Florida improved to 28-3 and will take on Barry in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament Saturday, while DSU ended its year at 15-16.
Despite the final outcome, Statesmen head basketball coach Jim Boone was pleased with the way his team performed through out the weekend.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team for all that we have accomplished and all we’ve overcome,” Boone said Sunday evening. “There’s no doubt that in the last couple of weeks of the season and into the tournament, we fully understood who were are, what we’re about and how we go about our business. I don’t think that was ever more evident than the tournament where we held some high scoring basketball teams to their lowest scores of the year and poorest shooting performances of the year.
“I wished that we could have made a couple of more plays today so that we could still be playing because this team has been an absolute joy to coach and to work with.”
Against Valdosta State, PJ Davis had a great game by scoring 24 points with six rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Brett Warner scored 16 points with four rebounds and two assists and Armon Benford scored 11 points with 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Against West Florida, Benford had an amazing game as he scored 16 points with 14 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals to lead the Statesmen, followed by Davis with 20 points, four rebounds, two blocks and one steal and Warner with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Warner and Davis were named to All-GSC Tournament Team.