Pioneers Split Weekend Series Following Break

By: Nick Kieser

GALLATIN, TENNESSEE — The Vol State Pioneers men's basketball team is back and started the second half of the season over the weekend.

On Friday night Walters State (14-5) visited the Pioneers (4-10) and won 93-80.  The following day the Senators went on to Tullahoma, Tennessee to continue their winning streak to five in a row and beat Motlow State 93-80.

"We played good and better than I thought we would play, to be honest.  We didn't come out with the win but I feel we had a good game despite missing some guys now," said Brian Price after Friday night's loss against Walters State.

At the halfway point of the game against Walters heading into the locker room, the Pioneers had a 42-39 lead.  Walters State came back firing on all cylinders and took a 15 point lead a few minutes into the second half which led to a loss for the Pioneers.

"Keep our foot on the gas.  We don't need to make adjustments or switch things up as often as we did in the second half.  The reason for the loss was not having our foot on the gas the rest of game I feel," said Jabori Murphy on the loss to Walters State.

Murphy had his best game of the season and totaled the most points for the Pioneers against Walters with 17 points and behind him were teammates Brian Price and Tim Goodrich with 14 apiece.

Losing four in a row is never as fun and for the Pioneers the team came back the next night with the same mentality and kept their foot on the gas as Murphy said.

Roane State (6-12) visited on Saturday night and the Pioneers walked away with their first win 92-86 since November 28 against Elizabethtown College.

"Our main focus was to get defensive stops and when we did our offense got going.  Timmy (Tim Goodrich) had a good night and got rolling and we went from there and got a good win," said Jordan Buchanan following the win against Roane State.

"We know how people see us and they don't see us as being good.  They can't come in here in our gym and just expect to beat us and we're going to prove them wrong it's never as easy as they think it is," said Tim Goodrich about the game on Saturday.

The tempo went up past what it was against Walters and the Pioneers took control of the game late and Goodrich led the way for the Pioneers as they ended the four-game losing streak.

Being 2-5 in conference play and having a conference win for the first time since beating Jackson State on November 17 (91-80) the Pioneers start better than expected for the second half of the season.

"Great team effort.  We played good man defense and we have a point guard who runs the show unselfishly.  We have players who have been waiting to play more for a year and a half like Jabori and they did what we needed them to do.  Our next opponent is Southwest and we're going to play the best we can," said head coach Rusty Melvin.

The Pioneers travel on Friday to face Southwest and Dyersburg this weekend.  To stay updated on the Pioneers follow the team on Twitter @VSCCPioneersMBB.