MORRISTOWN, TN – It may not always be pretty but a win is never going to be complained about.
On Wednesday evening that was the case as Walters State gutted out a 78-70 win over Georgia Highlands.
With the win, the Senators improved to 4-0 overall.
"There's a right and wrong way to win," Walters State coach Jerry Nichols said. "I thought there were moments at times. We're a good team but tonight we didn't really show how good we are. It is what it is. Obviously I am happy to get the win, but I have seen us play better than that. We're going to continue to hold these guys to a standard."
The Senators seemingly had the game in the bag up by 15 with seven minutes to go, however Georgia Highlands clawed their way back and made it a six-point game with 2:42 to go.
While the Senators were able to pull it out in the end, Nichols wants this to be a teaching lesson for his kids on putting the game away when they have the opportunity.
"Obviously, I can use this film as a teaching moment," Nichols said. "We were up pretty big and just didn't step on someone's neck. That happens at times. We're a young team at the end of the day. I say that because this is their first year playing under me. I've got a brand new team and to be 4-0, you definitely have to be excited. But at the same time we can and will get better."
Leading the way for Walters State in the game was Ramondo Battle with 13 points and six rebounds. Alongside Battle, Jamar Livingston had 14 points and four rebounds while Micah Simpson had 13 points and four steals.
Other contributors included Jaylen Wharton with eight points, Jair Horton with seven points and four rebounds, JR Jacobs with six points, four assists and four steals. Charvez Ambrose with six points, Greg Moore with four points and three rebounds, Malachi Hale with three points and three rebounds and Chi Shannon with two points and three rebounds.
As a team, Walters State shot 44% from the field and assisted on 18 made shots. The Senators grabbed 30 rebounds.
Defensively, Walters State forced 19 turnovers and held Georgia Highlands to 3-17 from the 3-point line.
It was a defensive battle to start as neither teams hot the ball well in the first half. However, the Senators held Georgia Highlands to just 38% from the field and Battle scored 11 to put the Senators up 38-27 at the break. Ambrose had six points, as well, while Simpson had five and three steals.
In the second half, the lead hung around 10 until Battle hit two free throws and Livingston made a layup to make it 51-36 with 13:19 to go. Highlands would cut it to seven at 53-46 but Livingston made a layup and Hale drilled a three to make it 58-46.
From there, the Senators continued to increase their lead and a Horton layup with 6:45 left made it 67-52.
But Georgia Highlands refused to go away and made it 72-66 with 2:42 remaining. The Senators finally regrouped though as Horton hit a free throw, Livingston made a layup and Jacobs scored to make it 77-68. Simpson hit a free throw late before Highlands made a layup at the buzzer to make it 78-70.
Walters State will be back in action to open up TCCAA play at home on Saturday against Dyersburg State. Tip is set for 4 p.m.
"Dyersburg has always been a free-fall team in the shots that they take and make," Nichols said. "We have to be on high alert. They're going to come in here to win, just like any other team. It's our job as coaches to get these guys prepared for Saturday."
Walters State Community College
Sports Information Director
Cell: (423) 779-8880