CARROLLTON, Ga. – The West Georgia Wolves lost in their first Gulf South Conference foray of the 2017-18 season on Thursday evening, falling 69-66 to the Shorter Hawks at the Winthrop-King Centre in Rome, Ga.
How It Happened
Freshman Greg James was the story of the game early on in the contest, as the Gwinnett County native scored six of the Wolves’ first eight points against Shorter. But in the first six minutes of the contest, the Hawks held a 16-8 lead. Over the next four minutes, the Wolves cut into the Hawks lead with a 9-5 run, and that continued, as a three-pointer from Ray Reeves with 7:01 left in the first half cut the Shorter advantage to 24-22.
With just under five minutes left in the first half, junior guard William Sides began to heat up, hitting from three-point range in back-to-back possessions to give West Georgia its first lead of the game at 30-27. The Wolves continued the run through the end of the half, taking a 33-29 lead into the locker room at the break. Sides led West Georgia in scoring in the first half with 10 points, and freshman Greg James, who came into the game averaging 11 per game and leading all Gulf South Conference freshmen, had six.
Early in the second half, neither team was shooting well, but the Wolves maintained their lead, as Shorter only had the ball once in the first nine minutes of the second half with a chance to tie the game. William Sides continued to score, pushing his total up to 16 points at the midpoint of the second half while Greg James hit two buckets early to give him 10 and his fifth double-figure scoring game of the year thus far, helping the Wolves to lead 49-46 with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
Over the next four minutes of action, the Hawks retook the lead at 52-51 on a fast break, but a layup from Aren Ulmer gave the lead right back to the Wolves a 53-52 with just under seven minutes left in the game. The final seven minutes of the game were a see-saw battle, as Shorter retook the lead with 4:30 left at 57-55 only to have Sides tie the game again with 3:54 left on a layup. In the final minute of the game, however Shorter took a four-point lead at 67-63, only to have Sides bury an off-balance three-pointer to cut the lead to one with just under 30 seconds to play.
Shorter hit two more free-throws and the Wolves couldn’t find the bottom of the bucket as the Hawks took the victory. West Georgia was led on the night by Sides, who had 23 points, followed by Greg James with 14. The Wolves will return to the court on Saturday at Lee, taking on the Flames in more Gulf South Conference action.