New Gym, New Attitude

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ITTA BENA, Miss — Late in the 4th quarter, with the shot clock winding down, Mississippi Valley freshman shooting guard, Darrell Riley, rolled in a routine lay-up, giving the Delta Devils a decisive 101-74 victory over Tougaloo College at the R.W. Harrison Complex. 

©2016
MVSU hosts Tougaloo in season opener ©2016

This was Valley’s first time scoring over 100 points since its 2013 season.

“We really brought in more offense,” senior guard, Marcus Romain said. “Coach did a good job recruiting, players are more familiar with the offense, players are more familiar with each other, so it’s easier to play with one another.”

It was also the first time Mississippi Valley played at home in the newly renovated gym.

The last three seasons have been spent at the Leflore County Civic Center, a 20 minute drive east of Itta Bena, in Greenwood.

“I’m excited,” Valley athletic director, Dianthia Ford-Kee said, smiling as she watched the game from the floor. “To be home in your own arena, with your fans and especially your students who can just walk around campus, come in and be a cheerleader, is an exciting day.”

The complex renovations were purchased for $17.5 million. Among the many things the newly renovated facility added are several locker rooms and a weight training room.

Third year head coach, Andre Payne, said the best part of the complex is practicing in the same place his team plays games.

“We were lucky to practice there [Civic Center] one or two times a week,” Payne said. “So, being here everyday and practicing, that makes a big difference.”

Also, MVSU did not have an ideal situation when it came to practicing on collegiate size regulation courts.

“Being able to practice in a regulation facility, is definitely a big factor,” Payne said. “That’s going to make a difference. Guys depth perception on taking shots.”

©2016
Newly renovated R.W. Harrison Complex ©2016

Last season’s leading scorer, Romain said he likes having a home game early in the season.

“I know we’re going to go on a long road trip,” Romain said. “So, it’s good for us to get that first game at home. So, we can get a little more comfortable.”

The Delta Devils begin its 14-game road trip against Northwestern on Nov. 11. Tip is at 7 p.m. and will be shown on Big Ten Network Plus.

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