The Wolves (3-3) dropped a five-point contest to Clayton State (4-1) down in Morrow on Nov. 20 in a game UWG coach Michael Cooney felt his team should have won.
"The thing that happened that game, we played such a bad first half offensively. We didn't take bad shots, we were just cold. Nothing was going for us. The second half, we really put up a good stand and fought our way and got back in the game," Cooney said. "[Clayton State] is a real physical team. They really get after you hard on the defensive end and they attack the rim in their halfcourt offense ... the thing we've got to do to have a chance of winning this game is rebound."
Now the important thing is getting back on the court, working off the rust and getting into the four non-conference games over the holiday break. The last time the Wolves played was a 78-63 win against Shorter on Dec. 2.
"It seems like it's been forever since we played, that's what you worry about. With our situation, we're really thin. You want to practice, but you don't want practices to be overly physical, because you're one sprained ankle away from being in real trouble. We went pretty good on Saturday and Sunday, then pretty much [Monday] was a walk-though," Cooney said. "You plan on being rusty, but you hope as the game goes on, your guys get a good feel for what's going on, start making some shots and obviously your energy gets going."
Through six games this season, the Wolves are being led by senior guard Quincy Hill's 15.2 points per game, but he is getting plenty of help. Fellow guard Thomas Higginbotham and Sean Boston are scoring 9.7 points per game, while Zach Taulien adds 9.0, Taylor Cochran 8.8 and Brett Seljak 8.5 points per game.
"Those six guys are really our main six. We could be starting Zach Taulien as easily as him coming off the bench. Those are the guys that are going to play most the minutes for us and most of them are all good offensive players," Cooney said. "I think the main thing I would say is our scoring output is a main result of our defense, but we really are trying to pass the ball more. All of them are capable."
The UWG coach added that Cochran is a guy who when he gets going can score a lot of points, while Hill has been playing at a high level through the first part of the season.
While they may not be Gulf South Conference contests, these games are still important to the Wolves' NCAA aspirations. With games being played against South Region opponents, they will count toward UWG making a possible return trip to the tournament.
"These are all region games — we're not playing easy games. These are all Division II region games, so they're all important. I hope that the locals will come out and support us with the students being gone. If they haven't seen us, they're going to see a team that really plays hard, scraps and plays with a lot of heart. I don't think you will see more exciting guards than Quincy Hill and Thomas Higginbotham. Hopefully, we get a good crowd [tonight]. It's a really important game for us," Cooney said.