Friday, March 2, 2012

Wolves set for 2012 GSC tourney

Carrollton, GA - It is now the time where the rubber meets the road, in basketball terms. With a new format for the Gulf South Conference tournament this year, the regular season was a preparation rather than a qualification, and now is the time for a team to show greatness or fall short, as the 2012 GSC men's basketball tournament gets underway in Niceville, Fla. on Friday afternoon.

The UWG men's basketball team will look to continue there dominance on the court as they finished the season with dominating performances by beating Valdosta State and West Alabama by an average of 28 points. West Georgia took down Valdosta State 85-52 two weeks ago and West Alabama was this past weekend's victim as the Wolves handed them a 75-52 beating. Both games were played in Carrollton.

As the opening festivities were held Thursday night, two UWG players earned postseason honors, as voted on by the coaches in the Gulf South Conference.

Senior Da'ron Sims was named Second Team All-GSC in the annual poll after leading the Gulf South Conference in scoring with 18.2 points per game. The California native was also fifth in the conference in rebounding, averaging seven boards per contest. His All-GSC award is his second at West Georgia, as last season, he earned First Team honors.

For the first time in the tenure of head coach Michael Cooney, the Wolves have garnered a GSC Freshman of the Year, with this year's recipient being guard Thomas Higginbotham. The Snellville native averaged 4.7 points and 3.0 assists per game on the season, playing largely a "sixth-man" role for the Wolves.

Wolves tames the Tigers in the season series
West Georgia opens up tournament play against the Tigers of West Alabama. The Wolves manhandled the Tigers in the two season matchups, beating them by an average of 20.5 points per game. They won 65-47 in Livingston and just this past Saturday beat them in Carrollton 75-52.

Part of the reason for that domination has been the job that the UWG defense did in both games against UWA sharpshooters Alquan Mendenhall and Jared Woolfork, who averaged 23.8 points per game with 112 made three-pointers this season between the two. In the first meeting in Livingston, the pair combined for 2-for-7 shooting from three-point range and just 14 points. Last Saturday, they combined for 26 points, but were only 2-for-11 from beyond the arc.

Wolves GSC Tournament History
The West Georgia Wolves are two-time GSC tournament champions with four championship game appearances. Winning once in 1987 and again in 2002. In 1987, the Wolves went into the tournament as the #1 overall seed and beat Delta State in the championship game. The most recent tournament championship was in 2002, where they went into the tournament as the #3 seed and beat Valdosta State in the Championship game.

This year, Cooney's Wolves will play to move beyond the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament for the first time in the Cooney era. Last season, West Georgia fell to Harding 74-63. Two years ago, the Wolves fell to Arkansas Tech 79-60. This year is also the second-straight season where the Wolves have gone to the tourney as the third seed.

The meeting between West Georgia and West Alabama, one of the longest-running rivalries in the Gulf South Conference, is the first between the two teams at the GSC tournament since the 1993-94 campaign and just the second overall. In that first meeting, the Tigers won 70-67 before falling to North Alabama in overtime in the championship game.

The Wolves look to pounce on and tame the competition at the 2012 GSC Tournament. UWG will open up tournament play against the West Alabama Tigers on Friday March 2nd at 3:45pm EST at The Arena in Niceville, Florida.

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