Forget about the second half of yesterday's game between No. 4 Southern and No. 10 Walbrook. It was ugly and had little to do with the outcome.
But the first half was an entirely different story. Southern dominated Walbrook, building a 38-18 lead en route to a 60-37 win over the Warriors at the Community College of Baltimore.
Junior forward Derrick Watkins scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half to lead Southern. His two three-pointers helped the Bulldogs (8-3) build a 13-0 lead. Watkins' one-handed follow dunk just before the buzzer to end the first half put an exclamation point on an outstanding first-half performance for Southern.
The Bulldogs made 15 of 30 field goals in the first half, including seven of nine three-pointers (4-for-4 in the first quarter). Junior guard Kwame Evans had eight in the first half for Southern.
"I thought we played great defense and our offensive execution was excellent, but I thought our defensive execution was tremendous," said Southern coach Meredith Smith.
Walbrook (6-4) made just four of 19 first-half field goals and turned the ball over eight times. The Warriors did not score their first basket until the 3-minute, 18-second mark of the first quarter.
Walbrook tried to turn up its defensive intensity in the second half, but the game turned into a shoving match early in the third quarter and the officials had to warn both teams.
Watkins managed two points in the second half as Southern outscored Walbrook, 22-19, but the 6-foot-5 junior with the rail-thin legs had done more than enough in the first half.
"He's an explosive player like that," said Smith of Watkins. "We've been looking for those type things from him. I think he is starting to play up to his potential."
Evans finished with 12 for the Bulldogs. Senior point guard David Cason had nine points, 12 assists and five steals.
Junior forward Shamar Bass had 11 for Southern and senior center Stevie Thomas finished with nine.