CARROLLTON, Ga. - Winners of three-straight to end the 2017-18 season, the West Georgia Wolves will open the 2018 postseason on Tuesday evening in Valdosta, Ga., taking on the Valdosta State Blazers in the 131st meeting between the two programs.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
West Georgia enters the 2018 postseason as the 8th seed in the Gulf South Conference tournament, beating West Florida, Shorter, and Auburn-Montgomery in succession to earn a spot in the tournament. The Wolves were 14-13 overall on the year and 9-11 against GSC competition. The Blazers enter the tournament tied for the second-best record in the NCAA South Region at 25-3, winning the top seed in the league with an 18-2 record against the Gulf South Conference this season.
Three players are definitely fun to watch and should cause for another offensive explosion on Tuesday night. West Georgia's Marquill Smith has proven himself to be one of the top players in the Gulf South Conference this season, as he leads the league in scoring a 23.3 points per game and is fourth in rebounding, averaging 8.6 boards per game. He has eight double-doubles on the year, with his biggest night of the season coming in the finale against Auburn-Montgomery. In that contest, he scored 39 points and pulled down a season-high 17 rebounds. Over the final four games of the year, Smith averaged more than 30 points per game, scoring at least 39 points twice. Just behind Smith in scoring the GSC is Valdosta's Beau Justice, averaging 20.8 points per game, including a 40-point effort against the Wolves in the first meeting between the teams in Valdosta. West Georgia's Paul Turner is in third place in scoring in the conference, averaging 19.0 points per game on the year.
Very few teams have been able to cause problems for the Blazers this season, and the Wolves have struggled in slowing down the VSU offensive attack. Valdosta State won in a shooting in Valdosta the first time this season, winning 114-92, then handed West Georgia a 106-77 loss in Carrollton on February 8. Paul Turner led the Wolves in the second game, scoring 28 and pulling down 11 rebounds. But that couldn't overcome six Blazers in double-figures on the evening.
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