CARROLLTON, Ga. - The West Georgia Wolves shot better than 80 percent from the field in the second half of Thursday night's Gulf South Conference opener at Spragins Hall in Huntsville, Alabama, upending GSC power Alabama Huntsville 84-78 for the first GSC victory under head coach Dave Moore.
The Wolves were 14-of-17 from the floor in the second half, powered by a 23-point outburst in the period from star swingman Marquill Smith. The offensive outburst allowed West Georgia to erase a 10-point second-half deficit en route to the victory. The win moves West Georgia to 4-3 on the year and 1-0 in Gulf South Conference play while UAH falls to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in league competition.
How it Happened
Alabama Huntsville came out firing early in the Gulf South Conference opener, scoring seven-straight points to open the game with a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the contest. West Georgia came right back, as Marquill Smith and Jared Simmons buried three-pointers in back-to-back possessions to spur a 10-2 run from the Wolves to give UWG a 10-9 lead at the 15:00 mark.
Junior forward Willie Barnes was a tough matchup for the Chargers early in the contest, as Barnes picked up 10 points in the first 15 minutes of the contest. His play helped the Wolves go back-and-forth with UAH, and with five minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 30-30.
Over the final five minutes of the period, Alabama Huntsville picked up the pace, outscoring the Wolves on an 11-6 run to take a 41-36 advantage at halftime. Smith and Barnes led the offensive effort for West Georgia in the period with 11 and 10 points, respectively in the first half.
In the second half, the Chargers went on a 5-0 run to open the period, but West Georgia came right back, and with just over 13 minutes left in the game, a three-pointer from Simmons tied the game at 49-49. Over the next six minutes, the Wolves went on a 20-10 run, hitting 10-of-11 from the field in that span and taking a 69-59 lead with 7:11 left in the contest.
The Wolves kept the Chargers at arm's length over the next five minutes, but in the final two minutes, the defensive pressure from the hard-pressing Chargers made the game close. UAH cut the West Georgia lead to as few as two points at 80-78 with 57 seconds left in the game, but a dunk from Gerald Blount and a pair of free-throws from Ulmer salted the game away for Moore & Co.
Four Wolves scored in double-figures on the night, led by a 34-point, seven-rebound effort from Smith. Simmons was 4-for-6 from the three-point line, scoring in double-figures for the second-straight game and netting 14. Blount also had 14 points in the game and pulled down eight rebounds. Barnes was the fourth double-figure scorer, adding 12 points and five rebounds for the cause.
West Georgia returns home on Monday evening for the Gulf South Conference home opener against the Shorter Hawks at The Coliseum. Tip for the women's game is set for 5:30 p.m., with the men's game to follow. There will be a Junior Wolves event between games, as West Georgia celebrates the holidays with a gingerbread cookie decoration time on the concourse level. Tickets are available through the UWG Athletics