CARROLLTON, Ga. - Marquill Smith could not have been more on fire than he was on Thursday evening at the AUM Athletics Complex. The senior guard had one of the most prolific shooting nights of the year, scoring 48 points to lead the West Georgia Wolves to a 98-87 victory over the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawks in Gulf South Conference play.
The Wolves needed all 48 from Smith on this night, as a furious second-half comeback from the Warhawks pushed the Wolves till the very end. The win moves West Georgia to 9-7 in GSC play this season and 14-10 on the year.
The two teams battled back-and-forth for the first four minutes of the game, and West Georgia trailed 8-7 with 15:59 left in the first half. Less than two minutes later, Marquill Smith nailed his third three-pointer of the game to take a 19-11 lead and force a Warhawk timeout. That didn't slow down the Wolves, as Michael Zabetakis hit a jumper out of the timeout, extending the run to 14-3 to give West Georgia a 21-11 advantage with 13:15 left in the first half.
The final 10 minutes of the first half was the Marquill Smith show from the AUM Athletics Complex, as the senior scored 29 points in the first half, leading the Wolves to a commanding 54-37 lead heading into the locker room at the break.
After the halftime break, the Warhawks came out as a different team, as Auburn-Montgomery began chipping away at the West Georgia lead, outscoring the Wolves 45-29 over the first 16 minutes of the second half. That was all despite a continued onslaught from Smith, as the senior had 40 points in the game with more than 10 minutes left in the contest. But with 3:57 left in the game, West Georgia clung to an 83-82 advantage.
Over the final four minutes of the game, the Wolves outscored the Warhawks 16-7 to take the road victory in conference play. Smith led all scorers with 48, tying the single-game record this season in the Gulf South Conference. He also had 10 rebounds, giving him his 11th double-double of the year. Freshman Michael Zabetakis was the second UWG player in double-figures, following up on his 20-point performance against West Florida last week with
West Georgia will be back in action on Monday evening at Shorter, taking on the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. from Rome, Ga.
Notable: Smith seems to like the AUM Athletics Complex, as he has now scored 88 points in two games in that facility ... Smith had 40 against the Warhawks last season in Montgomery, the last time that any UWG player scored 40 points in a game.