The University of West Georgia Men’s Basketball team followed up Thursday’s impressive victory with another home win.
The UWG Wolves defeated the Christian Brothers University Buccaneers in the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, 68-61. The win comes on the heels of their home victory on Thursday night against the Delta State University Statesmen, who rank No. 14 in Division II Men’s Basketball.
After the game, Wolves Head Coach Michael Cooney said that the effort on the defensive end is responsible for the win against CBU.
“I think our defense was spectacular, especially after a very emotional, hard-fought win over Delta State Thursday night,” said Cooney. “Any time you have a battle like we did Thursday night, it takes a lot out of your team. And so our guys really had to dig deep today to beat a very good Christian Brothers team. And the tone was set by our defense.
Cooney went on to point out the defense, in particular, of senior forward Lavon Gray, who racked up five steals and two blocks in 26 minutes of play.
“He’s our defensive leader,” said Cooney about Gray. “Much like a middle linebacker speaks to his team, he sets the tone out there. And he definitely did that today.”
The Wolves forced CBU to commit 15 turnovers, nine out of which occurred in the first half. Cooney said that those turnovers help their offensive production.
“We need to force turnovers to get our offense going,” said Cooney. “I mean, we’re a good fast-breaking team, and we need to get those transition baskets.”
On the offensive end, guard Deonta Stocks and forward Phillip Flowers led the Wolves in scoring with 18 points each. Cooney credited both players for their levels of maturity and emergence throughout the season. But he also acknowledged the presence of Stephan Thompson, who returned for the Wolves on Thursday night after sitting out for a month with torn knee cartilage.
“He just changed the game,” said Cooney of Thompson’s performance on Saturday. “He was much like a fullback, just browsing through three guys. I thought he got fouled, but no call. And he finishes. So, he gives our team toughness that we need.”
Not every moment of the game went pleasantly for Coach Cooney. With 2:27 left in the first half, he shouted at one of the officials after a warning and a technical foul was assessed to Wolves Assistant Coach Andy Young. Cooney was physically restrained by Flowers during the incident.
But he said afterwards that this is not something he will harp on going forward.
“The officials in the Gulf South Conference have a very, very difficult job with the physicality of this conference,” said Cooney. “He gave my assistant a warning, and I misinterpreted the warning, being that my assistant was talking to him. And what he was basically saying is he didn’t want my assistant to stand up anymore. It’s very common for assistants to stand up, to talk to players, with regards to scouting reports. And so he gave my assistant a technical after he had given him that warning.
“My interpretation of the warning was, ‘Hey, don’t talk back to me, to my own players.’ And so, he’s [the official] a very thoughtful man. He came to apologize to me at the half. I apologized to him. And you move on.”
The win over CBU brings the Wolves’ overall record up to 15-7, and their Gulf South Conference record up to 7-6. The team will play their next game on Monday, February 10, on the road against the University of North Alabama.