CARROLLTON, Ga. - Aren Ulmer flirted with a triple-double and Marquill Smith had a triumphant return to the court on Thursday evening at The Complex in Valdosta, Ga., as the West Georgia Wolves led for more than 35 minutes of the game at 21st-ranked Valdosta State, walking away with an 87-86 victory in Gulf South Conference. play.  

The win moves West Georgia to 11-5 on the year and 6-2 in Gulf South Conference play, while the Blazers fall to 13-4 overall and 6-3 in league action. Smith was stellar on the evening, hitting  6-of-9 from three-point range to lead the Wolves with 32 points. 

Valdosta State was the first to strike hard in this one, building an early 8-4 lead, but the Wolves came firing right back with a 7-0 run, entering the first media timeout with UWG leading 11-8. Smith got hot over the next 10 minutes, scoring 13 over the first 13 minutes of the game, leading the Wolves to as much as a 17-point lead in the first half. 

But the 21st-ranked team in the country came back, and Winston Morgan hit back-to-back three-pointers to lead the late first-half run, and Greg Zuppas hit a pair of free-throws in the final seconds of the period to cut the Wolves' advantage to 47-40 heading into the locker room. Smith was 6-for-9 from the field in the first half, scoring 16 points to lead the Wolves. West Georgia, leading the Gulf South Conference in steals coming into the game with just over nine per contest, had seven steals in the first half alone against the Blazers. 

The Wolves and Blazers stayed between a five-point to a seven-point lead for the bulk of the second half until Valdosta State went on an 8-2 run in the final four minutes. Morgan hit a pair of three-pointers to give the Blazers a lead at 78-77, but Smith came right back down on the other end and hit a layup to put the Wolves up at 79-78. 

The two teams traded missed shots on back-to-back possessions until Smith drew a foul from the Blazers. The senior buried both free-throws to give the Wolves an 81-78 lead, then an offensive foul from VSU gave the ball back to UWG. Over the final minute, West Georgia made the free-throws necessary to hold off the hot-shooting Blazers to take the victory. 

Ulmer drove the engine in the game, scoring 15 points, dishing eight assists and picking up five steals. Smith also flirted with a triple-double, scoring 32, pulling seven rebounds and dishing six assists. 

West Georgia returns to action on Saturday afternoon, taking on the West Florida Argonauts in Pensacola, Fla. First tip in that matchup is set for 5 p.m. 

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