CARROLLTON, Ga. – The West Georgia Wolves, fueled by a big afternoon from both William Sides and Marquill Smith, opened the 2017-18 season with a 2-0 start for the fifth consecutive season with an 87-72 victory over Tuskegee at Walker Arena in Cleveland, Tenn.
This is the fourth-straight season for the opening challenge between the Gulf South Conference and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and West Georgia is now 8-0 in those games.
How It Happened
Sunday’s contest started in a very different way from Saturday night, as the Wolves were unable to score in the first two minutes of the game. William Sides broke the negative streak with a three-pointer with just under 18:00 left in the first half, followed by another trey from Marquill Smith on the very next possession and the Wolves led 6-2 early.
The UWG defense was stiff in the early part of the game, as West Georgia allowed just two points in the first five minutes while building a 14-2 lead. Sides was the dagger in that run, as the junior was 3-for-3 from three-point range in the first five minutes of the game and led the Wolves early with nine points.
West Georgia continued to push, leading 29-15 at the under-8:00 timeout, and at that point Sides led all scorers with 11. Over the final eight minutes, the Wolves kept their advantage, heading into the locker room with a solid lead at 46-33.
In the first five minutes of the second half, the Wolves pushed their lead out to 60-43, but Tuskegee game right back, scoring seven-straight points in two minutes to cut the UWG advantage to 60-50 with 13:33 left in the game.
That run continued to the under-12:00 media timeout, as the Wolves went nearly four minutes without a bucket while the Golden Tigers were on a 12-0 run to cut the lead to 60-55. West Georgia then responded with another run, this time fueled by Smith, as the Wolves pushed their lead back out to 76-62 with just over four minutes left in the contest. Tuskegee cut the lead to 10 again at 76-66, but that was as close as the Golden Tigers would get in the contest.
º William Sides - 29 points, 11 rebounds
º Marquill Smith – 21 points
º Jack Shaughnessy – 13 points
º Vinko Glavan – 11 points
West Georgia moves to 2-0 on the young season, while Tuskegee falls to 0-2. The GSC is now 3-0 in the GSC/SIAC Challenge on the opening weekend of the 2017-18 campaign, as Lee beat Tuskegee yesterday, followed by West Georgia over both Miles and Tuskegee in the last two contests.
The 2017-18 home opener is on deck for head coach Michael Cooney and his Wolves, as West Georgia will have a tough test next Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Augusta Jaguars.