Deville Smith sparks Bears

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      SUMMIT – Deville Smith has found a happy home at Southwest Mississippi Community College. The former Mississippi State University guard sparked the Bears to a 64-58 Monday night triumph against archrival Co-Lin, scoring 14 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and making 4 assists.

     Southwest hiked its record to 7-6 overall and 1-2 in the South Division. Co-Lin , which failed to sink a 3-point field goal in 13 attempts last night, fell to 2-11 and 0-3.

     Co-Lin hosts Baton Rouge Community College Thursday night for a non-division twinbill. Southwest visits Pearl River the same night for another South Division test.

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     Smith, a 5-foot-11 guard from Jackson (Callaway), elected to leave MSU when longtime coach Rick Stansbury retired. Southwest coach Casey Carter had already signed his younger brother, Devion Smith, to a scholarship, so he knew the family.

     “Deville has been nothing but phenomenal for us,” said Carter. “He has good hands. He can read defenses and make plays.”

     Deville Smith sacked a pair of treys and assisted with 3 dunks in the early going as the Bears roared to a 19-2 lead with 11:52 left in the first half. He helped hold off a late Co-Lin rally when the Wolfpack reduced its deficit to 5 points, 59-54, with 68 seconds left in the game.

     Deione Weeks hit a short jumper and Smith made a pair of free throws to preserve the win.

     “We were able to start the game fast and feed off the crowd,” said Carter. ” Give Coach (Dennis) Sims and his Co-Lin team credit for hanging in there. I’m proud of our guys for being able to finish strong.”

     Donovan Ross, a 6-5 sophomore forward from Ridgeland, followed Smith with 12 points. Guard Mark Bridgewater, a 6-1 sophomore  guard from Hammond, La., chipped in 11 points.

     “We were a step slower than Southwest tonight,” said Coach Sims. “As ugly a game as it was, we were still in it.”

     Sims recalled the halftime situation that saw the Bears leading 32-23 and Co-Lin saddled with 14 turnovers. “All five of my starters had no points, five rebounds  and eight turnovers. We got no play from our two starting point guards.”

     Co-Lin climbed back into contention, led by Tavin Cummings who scored a game-high 20 points. Ricky Kelly came off the bench to score 10 points and grab 6 rebounds. Terrance James collected 8 rebounds.

     The Wolves started the second half with 6 unanswered points as Cummings slammed a baseline dunk, a layup and putback, cutting Southwest’s lead to 32-29 before Smith sank a driving layup for the Bears.