The Wolves (1-1) dropped a frustrating 66-63 decision to Miles College in the opening game of the two-day affair, where a late turnover led to a Golden Bears bucket and victory.
On Saturday, UWG righted the ship behind a late first-half surge and strong defensive play, forcing 28 Maroon Tiger turnovers.
And for West Georgia coach Michael Cooney, the win was just what he and his young squad needed after a tough opening-night performance.
“It was a very painful loss [Friday], but I’m really pleased with my team for bouncing back against a real physical, tough Morehouse team. It showed a lot of courage and we got some really good play out of the young guys,” Cooney said.
The opening half proved to be a back-and-forth affair for the first 17 minutes — featuring six ties and five lead changes — before back-to-back treys from Zach Taulien sparked a 10-0 run to close out the half and give the Wolves a 34-24 advantage going into the break.
“Zach Taulien, I thought, changed the game with the back-to-back 3s. He’s not shy to shoot the ball, as you saw,” Cooney said of the 6-foot-5 Aussie.
The Wolves built as much as an 18-point lead in the second half behind a strong effort from senior center Brett Seljak, who scored eight of his team-high 17 points in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Morehouse (0-2) was able to hang around and cut it back into single digits on back-to-back buckets by Andrae Nelson, pulling within 58-49 with 5:46 remaining. But a big 3-pointer from Sean Boston silenced the Maroon Tiger run, and the Wolves hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal victory No. 1 on the season.
Cooney said several guys picked up their play from Friday to Saturday, as Taylor Cochran (12 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals), Boston (10 points, six rebounds) and Quincy Hill (10 points, three steals) joined Seljak in double-figures offensively, while sophomore guard Thomas Higginbotham (six points, seven assists, four steals, four rebounds) also had a strong all-around performance.
“A good effort out of Sean Boston [Saturday]. He looked a little skittish and didn’t look like he was real comfortable with where he was on Friday, but he played a lot better [Saturday] and looked a lot more comfortable,” Cooney said. “Thomas played better [Saturday], Quincy played better [Saturday]. It’s probably the best game Brett Seljak has had here in a couple of years. So a much better effort.”
Morehouse’s Austin Anderson led all scorers with 19 points, knocking down 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while Darrius Williams posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards for the Maroon Tigers.
And after playing on back-to-back nights, the Wolves turn around and hit the road on Tuesday in a 7:30 p.m. contest in Morrow.
“It’s rough. I wish I could give the guys [Sunday] off and let them come back in on Monday and start getting ready for a game maybe next Friday or Saturday. But we’ve got to go play against a really talented Clayton State team on Tuesday night on the road, which is going to be a real tough task for us,” Cooney said.