The Wolves came back from a six-point halftime deficit and trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but a strong final 3:20 from Brown forced overtime. In the overtime period, the same problems cost the Wolves (7-9, 4-4 Gulf South Conference), as they couldn't quite make the necessary plays.
"That's the thing. We didn't play a good ball game [Thursday] night. We made so many mistakes — sideouts, scouting report, missed free throws, missed lay-ups — a long list of things we didn't do right. But the effort was outstanding. Our guys kept fighting and fighting and found a way to give us a chance at the end to possibly win the game," UWG coach Michael Cooney said. "You've got the ball in Quincy Hill's hands at the end of the game, you've got to feel pretty good."
Hill had the ball in the final seconds with the game tied, but after the Wolves cleared him a path, the senior guard lost the handle and was whistled for a shot clock violation. With 1.2 seconds left, the Lions didn't get a shot off, forcing the extra time.
The game started well enough for the Wolves, as they were making shots and forcing turnovers, taking a 29-22 lead with just under five minutes left in the half. From there, the Lions heated up and UWG cooled down, but another scoring drought helped trip up the Wolves, as they went the final 3:23 of the first half without putting up a point, turning a 33-31 lead into a 39-33 halftime deficit.
Then came Brown.
The freshman scored 15 of his game and career-high 24 points in the second half and overtime, as he scored seven straight himself with his 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to tie the game at 67-all.
"Deontre Brown, we've seen it. Unfortunately, Thomas [Higginbotham] has a knee injury. It doesn't seem like a serious injury. It's one of the ones where he will probably have to do something at the end of the season, but can play with the brace," Cooney said. "Great opportunity for Deontre. He answered the bell. But doing it every night is a hard thing. Talented player that can develop into something really special."
Along with Brown, fellow freshman Dan Trimble put up an 11-point, 14-rebound effort in 33 minutes of play — his season-high. Hill added 15 points, while Sean Boston had 11 points and six rebounds before fouling out with four and a half minutes left in the second half.
For the Lions (13-3, 6-2), it was DeAndre Hersey with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Bruce Adams also picked up a double-double with 19 points and 14 boards. Rashaun Claiborn reached double figures with 18 points.
Overall, it was shooting from the floor — just 38 percent, from the 3-point line (31.6 percent) and making just 15-of-32 free-throw attempts — that cost the Wolves.
Now West Georgia will have to have a short memory, as they travel to face GSC newcomer Union on the road Saturday night.
"It's a hard game and it's really hard after a disappointing loss like this. We got to go out there and, as a team and as a coaching staff, figure out how to scratch out a tough road game. I know they're struggling. But when you're at home going into January, everybody's good. Everybody is well-coached and scratching and clawing for a win. It's going to be a hard game for us, but we've got to find a way to win," Cooney said.