Mississippi Valley State coach praises team after first win

The Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils won their first game of the season on Monday. Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For nearly four months, Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils coach George Ivory's squad did not win a game. Through their first 27 contests, they were 0-27 -- the only team in college basketball without a victory.

On Monday, Mississippi Valley State beat the Prairie View A&M Panthers 57-51. The team's fans were so happy they ran onto the floor to celebrate. Ivory held onto the ball as a memento.

The real celebration unfolded in the locker room, where the team dumped buckets of water onto the coach.

"You would have thought we'd won the national championship," Ivory told ESPN. "I came into the dressing room and they gave me a chance to get out my jacket. They just wet me. They wet me up. They thought we had won the championship and they were so excited, so it was really nice for them."

Though Mississippi Valley State, a historically Black university in the SWAC, struggled to find a victory all season, Ivory said he's proud of everything his team has accomplished.

The Delta Devils have excelled academically, amassing a 3.0 GPA last semester. They have also weathered fatigue that few programs in college basketball can understand.

In November and December, Mississippi Valley State played only road games. It faced top-ranked teams such as the UConn Huskies, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears in 13 "buy games," where opposing schools give teams money to face off in nonconference matchups. Ivory said the games produced $1.1 million for an athletic department that generates about $4 million annually.

"I thought it was really, really tough this year for this team because we played one great, tough schedule," he said. "One thing I tried to remind the guys was staying positive. It took a lot out of us. That's 13 games."

Ivory said he'll always remember Monday. His players had earned that moment, but they were worthy of praise long before the win, he said.

"It was just a joy to coach these young men and see them do all the good things off the court and in the classroom," he said. "It was really exciting for them to get that win. I thought the student body really got behind them and it was a good day for us."