Men’s basketball defeats Mississippi Valley State

Evan Baron Evergreen Men's Basketball reporter

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Despite having its leading scorer out with an injury, the WSU men’s basketball team defeated the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (3-8) 85-48.

WSU junior guard DaVonte Lacy did not suit up for Cougars (7-5) because he was dealing with appendicitis. WSU redshirt freshman forward Que Johnson made the first start of his college career due to Lacy’s absence and took over Lacy’s role as the team’s leading scorer.

Johnson started out the game strong, scoring five quick points in the first couple minutes of the first half. He cooled off for a stretch, but found his groove toward the end of the game. He finished the night with 19 points and was 5-of-11 shooting from behind the three-point line.

“He (Johnson) did go dry for a while, it was a little irritating because we think he’s a good shooter, but boy he had some good open looks and just didn’t make them, and at the end he found the hoop again and made some shots, so that was good to see,” WSU men’s basketball Head Coach Ken Bone said.

The Delta Devils struggled early in the first half and only made one basket in the first 12 minutes of the game. With more than eight minutes left in the first half, the Cougars led Mississippi Valley State by a score of 21-3. However, the Delta Devils shifted their defense to full court pressure, which caused the Cougars to struggle.

Mississippi Valley State cut the Cougar lead to six points due to the Delta Devils’ defensive pressure.

“Their trap or their press bothered us a little bit, and once we got through it we were able to get good shots, and we were able to convert on those shots,” Bone said.

After going into the locker room with a 10 point lead over the Delta Devils, the Cougars came out in the second half with more aggression. WSU upped the defensive pressure and forced multiple steals, which resulted in more fast break buckets.

WSU outscored the Delta Devils 53-26 in the second half.

Cougar redshirt senior forward D.J. Shelton continued his dominance on the boards and finished with his second double-double of the season.

“Man D.J. has been a beast on the glass, that’s something that is really important to him, and he makes a great effort every time to the glass he tries to get a rebound,” WSU redshirt junior guard Royce Woolridge said.

Shelton finished the night with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Woolridge said he is dealing with a wrist injury but improving. He scored 16 points along with dishing six assists against the Delta Devils.

“My wrist is still bothering me, but it’s just going to be something I’m just going to have to play through and get in the gym, keep working on my jumper and I’ll be fine,” Woolridge said.

The Cougars will travel to Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 2 to face off against the No.1 ranked Arizona Wildcats at 7 p.m.