CARROLLTON, Ga. - The West Georgia men’s basketball will have one more home game in the 2018 calendar year, set for Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. as the Wolves play host to the Point Skyhawks at The Coliseum. The Wolves come into the contest winners of four of their last five contests, including a 31-point drubbing of Shorter on Monday evening. Point is in search of their first win of the year heading into Thursday’s matchup.
Thursday evening is the second Holiday Toy Drive event of this year's season. Members of the UWG Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be at the Guest Services table to receive unwrapped toys for those in need in the Carrollton area. Admission for Thursday night's game is free.
The West Georgia Wolves have had four double-doubles this season, including two on Monday against Shorter. In that contest, Marquill Smith picked up his second of the year with 26 points and 11 rebounds while Gerald Blount put up 19 points and 10 boards. Blount has been close throughout the year but had either double-digit points or double-digit rebounds in five of the seven previous games. The fourth double-double was unique, as Aren Ulmer had 12 points and 10 rebounds on November 24 against Johnson C. Smith.
SMITH IN THE NATIONAL POINTS RACE
For eight straight games to start the season, senior Marquill Smith has scored at least 20 points and comes into Game 9 leading the GSC in scoring at 27.9 points per game. That number is also second in the nation among Division II scorers. He has scored from all areas on the floor during that streak and has had four or more three-pointers in the last six games. The streak also ties Smith’s longest 20-point streak, as he had an eight-game run in the 2017-18 season. His highest scoring output of the year came against UAH when Smith scored 34 in the UWG victory.
THE LINEUP SHUFFLE
In the past three games, head coach Dave Moore has been forced to play without two players who were on the opening
day starting lineup. Both were lost to injury, and in the past three games, Moore has played no more than eight players. The result of that move is a three-game winning streak and at least four players in double-figures in each contest. Smith is the top scorer in the conference, but the ability of the players around him to score has provided a major boost in the scoring department.
- Deng Nhial moved into a seven-point lead in the bench scoring race on Monday against Shorter with eight points in the game, his second-highest scoring output of the season.
- Michael Zabetakis held a slight lead in the bench scoring title race headed into Monday’s game, but he went scoreless against Shorter. The freshman was still very effective, dishing out five assists in the contest.
- The most that West Georgia has scored off the bench this season came against North Georgia on November 20 and also against Queens on November 14, when the Wolves had 19 points.
- The Wolves have now hit 59 three-pointers through the first seven games of the season. In the first five victories of the year, West Georgia has hit 43 three-pointers, averaging 8.6 made three-pointers per game, compared to 5.3 per game in three losses.
- The most three-pointers in a game for the Wolves this season thus far came one week apart from each other. Greg James hit 7-for-11 on November 17. Marquill Smith has been 5-for-10 twice and has hit at least four treys in each of the last six games.
10 YEARS IN THE COLISEUM
- This is the 10th season in The Coliseum, and the Wolves have played 125 games on the men’s side in the facility. West Georgia is 2-0 on the year and 85-40 overall in The Coliseum.
- The biggest crowd in the history of The Coliseum for West Georgia basketball was more than 5,000 on February 18, 2012, against Valdosta State. The Wolves won that one 85-52 on a night when Gavin Field broke the UWG record for career three-pointers and joined the 1,000-point club.
Including this year’s roster, 85 players from West Georgia have played on the floor at The Coliseum in the 125-game history of the venue.
GSC WEEKLY AWARDS
- Marquill Smith became the first Gulf South Conference Player of the Week in the 2018-19 season for his performance this past week and was named the winner of the award on Tuesday by league officials.
- Smith is narrowing in on becoming the 14th player in West Georgia basketball history to score 1,000 points in a career. He comes into Monday’s game with 848 total points, needing 152 points to break that threshold.
YOU KEEP WHAT YOU TAKE
- Two UWG starters are among the top of the Gulf South Conference in steals heading into the second GSC matchup of the year. Aren Ulmer leads the league with 2.5 per game and Marquill Smith is eighth with 1.6 per game.
- Through the first seven games of the year, Ulmer has at least one steal in every game, with a single-game high of five in the opener against Palm Beach Atlantic. He had three against Benedict, Johnson C. Smith, and Shorter as well.
TOP TEAM CATEGORIES
- West Georgia moved into the top three in the Gulf South Conference in three-point field goal defense in the first two GSC matchups of the year, and the Wolves come into Thursday’s game allowing .324 three-point shooting percentage for opponents on the year.
- The Wolves are in the top-four in the GSC in six different categories, led by steals and three-point defense, where UWG is second. West Georgia is third in scoring defense and free-throw percentage and fourth in blocked shots and turnover margin.