Argos pull away late against Delta State, stay atop GSC standings

viagra no online prescription Tyler Wood
Sports writer

The 15th-ranked UWF men’s basketball team improved to 14-1 and kept its perfect home record intact after topping Delta State 71-54 Tuesday at the UWF Field House.

The win helped the Argos stay atop the Gulf South Conference standings alongside Valdosta State, with both teams holding a 6-1 conference record after each team won Tuesday night.

Darryl Tucker (21), Moter Deng (10), and Marvin Jones (4) play defense against Delta State Tuesday night. (Photo by Tyler Wood)

The Statesmen entered the game at 7-8, but with a 5-2 conference record and in third place in the GSC. The loss dropped them to fourth place, a half-game behind Christian Brothers University.

The Argos were led by senior forward Darryl Tucker, who scored 23 points off the bench and grabbed six rebounds. Senior guard Marvin Jones added 15 points and four blocks to help the squad pull away from Delta State late in the second half.

Argos go over their gameplan during a timeout in Tuesday night’s game against Delta State. (Photo by Tyler Wood)

Tucker’s contributions went far beyond the box score, as he threw down several dunks that invigorated the crowd and gave the Argos momentum towards the end of the game. One of those dunks stood out a little more than the others, when he threw an alley-oop pass off the backboard to himself.

“I’ve never tried that move before,” Tucker said after the game. “[The defender] jumped left and I just threw it.”

Up until nearly three minutes left in regulation, the game was up for grabs, but the Argos finished on a 13-to-4 run to create a lead they would hold on to until the final buzzer.

UWF coach Jeff Burkhamer was proud of the effort that his team put forth in the conference win.

“I thought that was a great win for us,” Burkhamer said. “I thought we played extremely hard on both ends of the floor for both halves. It’s a grind-it-out type [of] game when you play Delta [State].”

Darryl Tucker (21) sets a screen for Bryan Chalifoux (3) in Tuesday night’s win vs. Delta State. (Photo by Tyler Wood)

Burkhamer compared the game to a trip to the dentist.

“I told our guys it’s kind of like going to the dentist to get a root canal,” Burkhamer said. “It’s painful, but you’ve got to work your way through it and you’ll be okay. It was hard for those first 30 minutes, just grinding it out. We did a great job in the last 10 minutes of kind of figuring out maybe some things we could do offensively to get [some] better shots, to get guys into position where they were a little bit more comfortable.”

Burkhamer was also pleased with Tucker, who he referred to as the Argos’ “sixth starter,” and the unit as a whole.

“Darryl comes in and plays really, really well. I really liked his energy and activity, and we got great minutes out of a lot of guys. Defensively tonight, we were terrific,” Burkhamer said. “We did a lot of good things, holding the (Statesmen) to 36 percent (shooting) in the second half.”

Burkhamer said one reason the game remained close until late was a relentless man-to-man defensive effort by Delta State.

“They’re awfully good defensively and Coach (Jim) Boone is a terrific teacher,” Burkhamer said. “They run a pack-line defense and they keep everything bunched down. They caused us some problems early with it, [but] we were able to space them out a little bit with our ball-screen action.”

Argos huddle up prior to the game Tuesday night against Delta State. (Photo by Tyler Wood)

This is easily the best record in school history through 15 games for the Argos, and being ranked 15th in the NCAA DII’s latest poll is the team’s highest ever ranking. Tucker said losing by one point in the playoffs last year is what has fueled the Argos’ success this season.

“We have a good coach and he just believes in us,” Tucker said. “He believes in all the seniors, and if you can play, he’ll let you play.”

Looking ahead, the Argos will make a two-game road trip to Tennessee to take on Union University on Saturday in Jackson, and Christian Brothers University Monday night in Memphis.