Courtesy of West Georgia athletics
The first three-overtime game in the history of The Coliseum went the way of the University of West Georgia Wolves on Monday evening, as West Georgia upended the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.
West Georgia won the contest 122-118 in Gulf South Conference play, which also was the highest-scoring game in The Coliseum’s history.
Five Wolves scored in double-figures in the third GSC victory of the season for West Georgia, moving the Wolves to 8-8 on the year and 3-6 against league competition.
Junior Marquill Smith led the way with 33 points and 14 rebounds, picking up his team-leading fifth double-double of the year and his first since Dec. 30.
Smith was the Wolves’ first-half leader as his 14 points helped the Wolves build as much as a 13-point lead over the Chargers.
As a team, the Wolves shot 48.5 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, including a 5-of-12 performance from behind the arc.
The Wolves did a good job on the offensive glass to open the game, pulling down six offensive rebounds for 11 second-chance points. West Georgia held a 54-45 lead at the break, led by Smith’s 14 and 10 from Paul Turner.
Alabama-Huntsville didn’t score its first field goal of the second half until more than three minutes into the half, but when it did, it sparked the Charger offense.
A layup from Kip Owens began an 8-0 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers from UAH’s Justin Ward.
Another 7-0 run from UAH gave the Chargers their first lead since early in the first half, as Owens’ 3-pointer at the 10:49 mark made it 66-65, UAH.
UAH clawed its way back into the game and retook the lead with just over a minute remaining on a free throw from J.J. Kaplan, who also nailed two more free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Chargers an 86-83 advantage.
The Wolves returned the favor with Paul Turner nailing a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in regulation.
Kaplan raced down the floor and found a wide open Dalton Barkley under the basket, but Barkley missed the layup and Turner was fouled, sending the Wolves to the line with a chance to win in regulation. Turner completed the crazy final minute with a missed field goal and the teams headed to overtime.
West Georgia led by as many as four points in the first overtime period, but the Chargers hung around, and with 26 seconds left in the extra period, Chayse Elliott's layup tied the game at 99-99, which would be the score heading into the second overtime. The Wolves again led for the bulk of the second overtime period, but with 12 seconds left, a turnover from Smith allowed a layup from Barkley, tying the game at 109-109 and forcing a third overtime.
The Wolves never trailed in the final overtime period, and the score was never tied after a Smith shot early in the period put the Wolves on top. William Sides and Steven Ross buried free-throws in the final seconds of the game to ice the win for West Georgia.
As a team, West Georgia had 20 offensive rebounds that led to a 29-13 difference between the Wolves and the Chargers on second-chance points. Turner was second on the team in scoring on the night with 20 points, followed by Sides with 19. The freshmen were a huge factor in the game as well, as Greg James had 17 points, including a huge three-pointer in the third overtime and Steven Ross, Jr. had 13 points. Ovie Magbegor was second on the team in rebounds with 11.
West Georgia returns to the road this weekend, playing Thursday at West Florida with an 8:30 p.m. tip time, followed by a 4 p.m. tip on Saturday at Valdosta State.
UWG 76, Alabama-Huntsville 63 (women): A solid second half fueled the West Georgia Wolves women’s basketball team to a 76-63 triumph over the visiting Alabama Huntsville Chargers in Gulf South Conference play on MLK Day in The Coliseum.
After shooting just 36.1 percent in the opening half, the Wolves shot 56 percent in the final half on their way to the 10th win of the season for head coach Scott Groninger and the Wolves.
As expected, it was a closely contested battle right out of the gate as just one point separated the two teams after the first 10 minutes of play.
The duo of Aysha and A’Kia Harris combined for the first seven points for UWG before Jessica Brown began to heat up, scoring six points in the opening quarter.
The second quarter was no different, as both teams scored 16 points in the period
The Chargers shot 50 percent from the field in the half, but the Wolves were able to force 12 turnovers that turned into 11 points on the offensive end.
UAH hit a 3-pointer with 2:25 left in the half to take their largest lead to that point at six, but the Wolves closed the half out on an 8-1 run to take a 31-30 lead into halftime.
West Georgia pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Chargers 22-15 in the third quarter. At the 1:12 mark of the period, a Jessica Brown three-pointer gave the Wolves their first double-digit lead of the day at 53-43.
The defense continued its intensity through the entire second half, forcing 15 second half turnovers, which translated into 14 points off of turnovers in the second half.
On the other end of the court, the Wolves improved in the second half, shooting 56 percent in the last 20 minutes of the game, and stretching their lead to as much as 13 in the final quarter. Kayla Carter was responsible for much of the offensive turnaround in the second half, as the senior guard scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half.
West Georgia dominated on the glass with 39 boards, including 15 on the offensive side, leading to 16 second chance points.
Along with the 18 from Kayla Carter, Jessica Brown chipped in with 14, while A’Kia Harris added 12 and Aysha Harris finished with 11 to give the Wolves four double-figure scorers in a single-game for the second time this season.
A’Kia Harris had her sixth career double-double and second straight as she had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Wolves improve to 10-6 overall on the year, while the win puts UWG at 6-3 in GSC play. Meanwhile Alabama Huntsville falls to 10-7 with a 4-5 mark in league play.
Next up for West Georgia is a big road trip to Pensacola and Valdosta. The Wolves take on West Florida on Thursday night at 6 p.m. from the UWF Fieldhouse in Pensacola, Fla.