Tunstalle leads Concord past W.Va. State
INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- So far this season, West Virginia State has been doing its scoring by committee.
Entering Thursday night's home opener against Concord, David Ford led the Yellow Jackets with 12.6 points per game, good enough for just 28th in the West Virginia Conference.
Unfortunately for State, the Mountain Lions do have a scorer on whom they can depend in Damien Tunstalle, and he did nothing but strengthen the numbers that place him among the league's best.
Tunstalle scored a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and his personal 10-0 run in the second half gave Concord a 16-point lead and led to a 68-62 win for the visitors.
The senior guard entered the game averaging 19 points, which placed him 10th in the conference, and both numbers will go up after Thursday.
"Going into the season that was my biggest question mark," Concord coach Kent McBride said. "Do we have a guy that when we need a basket can get one? Damien Tunstalle has proven that and he's such a hard cover because he's athletic, he's quick, he can shoot it, and he can finish at the rim. He has a lot of aspects to his game.
"I give him all the credit. Nobody saw him shooting the ball at 7 o'clock in the morning and then working three jobs during the day. I saw it, and it's paying dividends."
Ford owned the lane throughout most of the game and grabbed a game-best 13 rebounds. In fact, State played a fairly solid defensive game, holding the Mountain Lions to just 41.1 percent shooting from the floor and forcing 22 turnovers.
"David Ford, gosh almighty, when does he graduate because he's an animal," McBride said.
The problem was on the offensive end, where the Yellow Jackets shot just 37.5 percent, including 18.8 percent from 3-point range.
State coach Bryan Poore made several attempts to flow the offense through Ford, and it seemed to work early in the game. But McBride made an adjustment and the Concord defense began to crowd the lane.
Poore said Ford will be targeted until his supporting cast can alleviate some of the pressure.
"Dave's a marked man because they know that's the only way we can score right now is going through Dave," Poore said. "Early on he was getting some stuff but then they really collapsed on him."
Anton Hutchins and Kendrick Ward each had 14 points to lead State (3-3 overall, 1-1 WVC).
"We're not shooting the ball very well and as a result of that we were taking bad shots as well," Poore said. "As a result of that, now you're getting run-outs and they're scoring and executing. We've been real inconsistent. We've played a couple of games on the road where we were pretty good and then we play some games where we're not very good.
"We're not playing with a purpose right now. We're just kind of out there ballin', and out there ballin' in this league don't get it."
Jordan Davis added 11 points and eight rebounds for Concord (4-1, 2-1).