The methodical Bucs and their shot-clock eating offense host the 8 p.m. league affair, and UWG coach Michael Cooney knows good and well how difficult it can be to win at Canale Arena.
“The good news for us is we’re not playing against [former All-GSC performers] Scott Dennis and Zack Warner, but they’re still really, really good. I think they’re more patient — if you can imagine that — without those guys. Harry Green was recently injured. He has a wrist injury, so he’s going to be out. From the film that I saw against Alabama-Huntsville and Shorter, they’re really winding it down and making a million passes and trying to turn your head around and spin you around in circles before they shoot it,” Cooney said.
When facing a team like Christian Brothers, it really boils down to being patient and not giving up the second and third-chance opportunities.
“That’s what makes them so dangerous is they run that shot clock down and then they hustle in and get another offensive rebound and that keeps you on defense for an awful long time,” Cooney said. “That’s going to be really important for us is to be quick to the ball, get the rebound and get some fastbreak opportunities.”
On the flipside, the UWG coach said you have to maximize every offensive possession you get in a game like this, because you’re not going to get as many as you normally would due to CBU’s thoroughness on the other end.
“That’s what we’re talking to our guys about. I felt like two years ago we should have won the game up there and last year we were pretty beat from the Delta game, but we still were in the game until the last 10 minutes. I think this year, what’s really going to be important, as always with them, you’re going to try to do a great job defending them. But your offense, you’ve got to make shots,” Cooney said.
The Wolves (7-6, 4-1 GSC) are riding a three-game winning streak into tonight’s matchup, while the Bucs (8-5, 3-2) are coming off back-to-back losses to Alabama-Huntsville and Shorter, respectively.
CBU ranks second in the league in scoring defense (61.0 ppg), while the Wolves are right behind them at No. 3 (63.8 ppg). The Bucs have three players averaging double figures — though Green (11.6 ppg) is sidelined with the wrist injury — leaving senior forward Michael Drake (13.2 ppg) and junior guard Cory McArthy (11.5 ppg) to hold down the fort. McArthy also leads the league in minutes played per game (36.5) and free-throw percentage (93 percent).
Cooney said his ball club enters its two-game road swing — UWG plays at Delta State on Saturday at 5 p.m. — with a clean bill of health, noting that sophomore guard Thomas Higginbotham is the one concern after tweaking a knee against West Florida on Saturday.
“We think he had a mild sprain and then in practice [Tuesday] night, he re-tweaked it. So we’re not sure on him. He’s the one guy we’re kind of keeping an eye on. But everyone else seems to be relatively healthy,” Cooney said. “Dan Trimble has been fighting a stomach virus for the last week. He is better than he was a week ago, but he’s still not 100 percent.”