CARROLLTON, Ga. - For 11 seconds in Thursday's game at Delta State, the West Georgia Wolves trailed the Statesmen. Paul Turner and Co. made sure that didn't stand for long, as a 45 percent shooting night from three-point range powered the Wolves to a 70-64 victory over DSU at Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland, Miss.
Turner, a junior from Chicago, Ill., had 15 points on the night, but a five-point swing midway through the second half proved to be some of the biggest points of his career thus far at UWG. With the Wolves hanging on to a 50-45 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the game, Delta State star P.J. Davis scored six-straight points to give the Statesmen a 51-50 lead with 9:42 to play. With 9:31 left, Turner hit a jumper, then just under 30 seconds later, a three-pointer put the Wolves back up by four at 55-51.
Delta State would not see the lead again after those two shots, as the Wolves held on to move to 10-11 on the year and 5-9 against Gulf South Conference competition. DSU falls to 9-13 overall and 7-7 in league play.
In the first four minutes of the game, Delta State had the upper hand, holding a slim 7-5 lead over the Wolves. But over the next four minutes, Marquill Smith absolutely put the Wolves on his back, going 4-for-5 from the field with 11 points. Among that 4-for-5 including a 3-for-4 spree from long range and West Georgia led 17-9 with 11:17 left in the first half.
After that run, the Wolves went cold from the floor, as West Georgia went scoreless for the next nearly five minutes of the half, but the UWG defense kept the Statesmen at bay over the same span. William Sides broke the scoreless streak with a three-pointer and West Georgia led DSU 27-23 with 3:47 left in the first half.
Over the final three minutes of the opening period, West Georgia outscored Delta State 10-6, as the Wolves took a 37-29 advantage into the locker room at the break. UWG shot 44 percent from the field, including 46 percent from three-point range and Marquill Smith scored 14 first half points to lead the UWG offensive.
The first eight minutes of the second half were not the prettiest basketball from Sillers Coliseum, as Delta State slowly cut into the West Georgia lead. The Statesmen outscored the Wolves 16-11 in that span, and with just under 12 minutes left in the game, West Georgia held on to a 48-45 advantage.
At the 9:42 mark of the second half, a layup from P.J. Davis gave Delta State their first lead of the contest, but 11 seconds later, Paul Turner hit a shot on the wing to put the Wolves back on top at 52-51. Less than 30 seconds later, Turner buried a three-pointer to put West Georgia up by a 55-51 score with 9:04 left in the game.
The Wolves continued to push and the UWG lead reached 65-57 in the final three minutes, but the final minute of the contest opened with a three-pointer from DSU that cut the advantage to 65-62. Smith hit a dagger with 23 seconds left, a three-pointer from very long range, giving the Wolves a comfortable 68-62 lead.
Four UWG players scored in double-figures on the night, led by William Sides with 20 points. Smith added 19 points, followed by Paul Turner with 15 and Karlos Odum with 13 points.
The Wolves will remain in Mississippi for the next two days, taking on the Mississippi College Choctaws on Saturday evening, with a 5 p.m. tip time scheduled.