On Thursday, Jan. 16, the UWG Wolves men’s basketball team fell short to their rival Valdosta State in a high scoring affair. Despite UWG leading over half of the game, the Blazers were too much for the Wolves in the end with a final score of 98-93. With the loss, the Wolves fell to 4-12 on the season.
To begin the game, the Wolves came out running. They opened up with a 10-2 run, which was a product of pushing the fast break and getting a Valdosta State starter, Darrell Jones with three early fouls which sent him to the bench. Another important factor for the early lead was due from the high-level play from junior guard Oronte Anderson, starting out shooting 2/3 from the field.
Despite the early lead, Valdosta State responded to the West Georgia run and began to roar back and play tenacious defense. Their defensive pressure forced the Wolves to commit six turnovers in the first half. Adding to the troubles, the Wolves went a less than ideal 1/5 from the free throw line. In comparison, the Blazers went 10/16, hinting that their aggression on offense, leading to easy points. The Blazers went into halftime with 42-40 lead.
Despite not having the lead at the half, the Wolves had several aspects of the game that kept them competitive. The most notable discrepancy between the two teams was the gap of three-point shooting. The Wolves shot 5/13 behind the three-point line while holding the Blazers to only shooting 2/9. Given the even rebound split of 27 from both teams, it was evident that the teams would both have to play discipline games to secure a victory.
The second half was played very tightly and had over a dozen lead changes. The Wolves’ second half success was fueled by several players stepping up, most notably, Anderson, Kovi Tate, and Seth Brown-Carter. Anderson continued to control the tempo of the game while Tate dominated the paint with a double-double of 18 points and eleven rebounds. Brown-Carter shot the ball very well in the second half, which helped them take the lead several times. Despite only two first half points, Brown-Carter finished with 21 points. Head coach Dave Moore was emphatic with their performances,
“Kovi and Seth played a huge role in the second half. Without their performance, we’re not in this game,” said Moore.
While several Wolves stepped up, the interior play from Valdosta State proved to be too much, only converting four three-pointers, The Blazers scored 56 second half points, including 17 free throws. Oronte Anderson led the game with 24 points, accompanied by nine assists and six rebounds. Coach Moore was very proud of Anderson’s performance, labeling it as his best offensive game so far. When asked about Anderson’s importance to the team, Coach Dave Moore stated that “He [Anderson] is our engine… He’s what makes us go.”
While Coach Moore was happy with the way his team played, he made it clear that the Wolves have to do a better job with closing the game.
“If we come out and score 53 points in a half, we have to win that,” said Moore. Coach is optimistic that his team’s competitive fire will allow them to have a chance to win any game on any given night.