On the eve of Gulf South Conference play, UWG coach Michael Cooney got a strong effort from his squad, especially in the final 20 minutes, as the Wolves (2-2) broke open a 25-24 halftime advantage with a 48-point second half, shooting 64 percent from the floor and knocking down 4-of-7 attempts from downtown after the break to pull away for the double-digit victory.
“It’s huge. This has been a tough week. I said at the beginning of the week if we could go .500, I’d be a happy guy. And I am,” Cooney said. “Those are two good wins out of four hard games. So we’ve just got to try and keep our head above water with these guys as they try to figure it out offensively. They did take some steps [Saturday]. I thought that spacing was better, it was more fluid, the ball was moving well. They got a sense of where the shot clock was and they didn’t panic.”
West Georgia, which heads to Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday to tip GSC action, placed five scorers in double figures, led by senior point guard Quincy Hill and junior forward Sean Boston, who posted 16 points apiece.
Hill and sophomore guard Thomas Higginbotham, who scored 12 points with four assists, had the offense flowing much smoother in the second half, setting the stage for the big offensive night.
Along with Hill, Higginbotham and Boston in double figures, senior forward Brett Seljak had 11 points and eight rebounds, while Aussie sophomore sharp-shooter Zach Taulien provided a huge lift off the bench once again for Cooney.
After seeing just three minutes of action in the first half and missing his only attempt from the field, Taulien scored 13 points in nine minutes in the second half, knocking down eight straight points at one stretch. His trey with 3:37 remaining gave West Georgia its first double-digit lead of the night at 60-50, which seemed to knock the life out of CSU (3-2). For the game, Taulien was 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.
“I’ve never seen anybody that just comes in cold turkey and catches it and fires it like that kid does. He has not seen a shot he doesn’t like,” Cooney said. “It’s the same thing he did against Morehouse. He changed the game. And he changed the game again [Saturday]. Those are huge shots.”
And while the offense stepped up to do its part, the UWG defense was solid again, forcing 18 turnovers and holding the Cougars to just three free-throw attempts for the game. West Georgia, meanwhile, went 20-of-28 (71 percent) from the charity stripe.
“The thing that I like, we were pretty dang solid on the defensive end. We held a team that’s been averaging 80-something points a game to 60 points,” Cooney said. “We gave up some 3s, but most of them were pretty contested.”