CARROLLTON, Ga. – Led by a season-high 37-point effort from Marquill Smith, the West Georgia Wolves erased an 11-point second-half deficit on Saturday evening at The Coliseum, taking down the Christian Brothers Bucs, 82-79 in a crucial Gulf South Conference battle.
The win moves West Georgia to 12-7 overall on the season and 7-4 in league play while the Bucs fall to 13-7 and 8-4 against GSC opponents.
The opening half was a battle with neither team gaining much of an advantage. Over the opening 10 minutes, four was the largest lead by either team.
The two squads did it in two different methods in the opening half, as CBU went to the paint, feeding Adam Dieball and used good ball movement to get Joe Laravie open in the paint as the two helped CBU score 22 points in the paint in the opening half.
West Georgia, however, used the three-pointer to counter the attack as the Wolves shot 43.8 percent from behind the arc, hitting seven triples in the opening half. Marquill Smith and Greg James led the perimeter attack, each hitting two in the half.
Smith led the Wolves in scoring in the opening half, scoring 14. The Wolves, who trailed by eight with just over five minutes left in the half cut the CBU lead to just two at 38-36 by halftime.
The Bucs came right out of the halftime break and quickly stretched their lead to 11 right out of the first media timeout. Marquill Smith then scored seven straight points to get it back to a four-point deficit, and then a Greg James three-pointer cut it to just a one-point game at 56-55 forcing a CBU timeout.
The final 12 minutes of the game featured eight lead changes and neither team led by more than four. Willie Barnes had what might’ve been the biggest trips to the line late in the game as CBU tried to foul the big man to send him to the line. Barnes went 3-for-4 from the line in those two trips. After Barnes converted both making it a 78-77 lead with 1:16 to go, CBU answered with a quick basket to regain the lead.
West Georgia led by one following Barnes’ second trip to the line, and it set up CBU with a chance to win the game with one shot as they trailed by one. Dieball missed the look from three-point range and Marquill Smith was fouled after the rebound, sending the senior to the line. Smith converted both with 1.1 seconds remaining to make it a three-point game. The Bucs had one final try but did not get the shot off before the final buzzer.
Smith finished with 37 points on the night with 23 of those coming in the second half. The senior finished 10-of-22 from the field on the night. Smith notched his seventh double-double of the season with 11 rebounds as well.
Greg James also found double-figures on the night with 14. Willie Barnes was second in rebounds on the night with seven.