CLEVELAND, Miss. – Steven Samuels led the Tigers with 21 points that included a final jump shot as time expired to claim a 62-60 overtime victory over Gulf South Conference opponent Delta State on Thursday.
“This win was really important for our team,” said West Alabama head coach Mike Newell.
“I am really proud of our kids. They had us down by nine at one point, but we hung in there and responded. Most young teams struggle under the pressure but we did an excellent job of playing a full game.”
The thrilling finish marks the third consecutive overtime contest for West Alabama (6-7; 2-4) as well as its first road victory of the season.
The Tiger's held Delta State's (5-9; 1-5) Terry Leake to only nine points. Leake entered the contest as the conference's leading scorer averaging 19.6 points per game.
Matt Allbritton led Delta State to a 31-26 half time lead as he totaled 13 points in the first half. West Alabama responded in the second half by holding him scoreless and cutting down an eight point deficit to tie the game at 60-60.
In overtime Steven Samuels led the Tigers, hitting back-to-back three pointers as well as a final second jump shot and accounting for eight of ten of West Alabama's overtime points. Samuel's performance against the Statesman marks his third consecutive 20 point performance.
“Steven Samuels is starting to play like he played in the summer,” said Newell.
“We tried to get the ball to him at the end of regulation but Delta State guarded it. We went back to him in overtime and we were successful. It's great, as a coach to have those kind of players.”
The Tigers now remain on the road to visit Christian Brothers on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 4 pm.