CARROLLTON, Ga. - One of the oldest rivalries in the Gulf South Conference returns to The Coliseum on Thursday night, as the West Georgia Wolves play host to the Valdosta State Blazers. The women's game is set to tip at 5:30 p.m., with the men's game to follow at approximately 7:30 p.m.
SETTING THE STAGE
The West Georgia Wolves are on a bit of a roll lately, coming off of two victories last weekend on the road. The Wolves took down Delta State by a 70-64 count on Thursday followed by a 97-79 win over Mississippi College. The victories moved the Wolves to 11-11 on the season and 6-9 against Gulf South Conference competition. Valdosta State comes into the game as the ninth-ranked team in the country, sporting a 21-2 record on the year. The Blazers are winners of 14-straight, inclding three overtime victories in that span.
ULMER WITH THE ASSIST
Aren Ulmer has had a stellar year distributing the ball, and the junior comes into Thursday's game averaging 5.3 assists per game. That number has the Upland, Ca. native ranked 38th in the nation in assists per game, and he is second in the conference in that category. Ulmer has had three games this season with double-digit assists, including Saturday's victory over Mississippi College, where Ulmer had 15 assists, one of the best nights for a point guard of the past 25 years of West Georgia basketball.
SMITH CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Junior Marquill Smith continues to write a resume for a potential run at Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, as he is now averaging 22.1 points per game, which is second in the league. He scored 31 in the win over MC on Saturday, marking the 15th time this season that he has scored at least 20 points in a game, and he has had at least 20 in nine of the last 10 games for the Wolves. In addition, he is tied for fifth in the conference in rebounding, averaging 8.2 boards per game and he has had six double-doubles on the year.
MAKING THE TOURNAMENT
The Wolves are making a push to reach the Gulf South Conference tournament for the first time since winning the GSC championship two years ago. Two straight victories has pulled head coach Michael Cooney and his squad to within two games of being in the top eight and reaching this year's postseason. The Wolves have five games remaining on the year, including three against teams currently in the top-three of the conference. The scenarios are too vague at this point, but West Georgia's path to the GSC tournament must begin with winning games.