Weevils split GAC games
Coaches have various ways to deal with early season losses. For the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Kyle Tolin and his Boll Weevils, that hiccup might prove to be the most advantageous thing that happens in the Great American Conference regular season.
And for the rest of UAM’s conference opponents, that can only be scary.
UAM, picked to run away with this year’s GAC race by the conference coaches, stumbled 91-74 at Southern Nazarene University Saturday after opening its 2017-18 league campaign with a 97-84 victory at Tolin’s alma mater, Oklahoma Baptist University, last Thursday.
“We didn’t play well really either game,” said Tolin, whose squad is 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league action. “We had some good minutes at Oklahoma Baptist but we have to get back to guarding on the defensive end. This loss (at Southern Nazarene) could be good for us—if we will use it to learn and get tougher and better.”
Tolin is hoping the next two games give the Weevils a chance to do just that. UAM hosted Texas College Tuesdasy night at Steelman Field House (because of early holiday deadlines, the Advance-Monticellonian was not able to report on that game) and will entertain Philander Smith College of Little Rock at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Then, it’s back to the GAC grind. UAM will welcome Southeastern Oklahoma State University at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30 before playing East Central University, the team with which the Weevils shared last year’s regular-season league championship, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
At Bethany, Okla. Saturday, SNU surprisingly jumped to a nine-point lead by intermission and built on that advantage in the second half as UAM was never really in the game.
The Weevils led just once—by two points—at 17:53 of the first half and trailed by as many as 21 with 4:41 remaining to be played. The Crimson Storm bench played a huge role in SNU’s upset, outscoring UAM’s bench 21-6.
Reigning GAC Player of the Week Derylton Hill and his senior teammate, Cobe Goosby, each scored 18 points to lead UAM in scoring but both struggled from the field. Goosby was 5 of 13 and Hill 5 of 14 as the Weevils shot a paltry 40.7 percent from the field as a team.
Junior college transfer Jamil Maddred added 13 points and senior Karim Mawuenyega chipped in with 10 against Southern Nazarene. If there was a silver lining for Tolin against SNU, it was that his team turned the ball over just 14 times as compared with 22 by the hosts. That matter little, though, when the Crimson’s Storm’s shooting was added to the equation. SNU hit a sizzling 62 percent of its shots from the field and was 20 of 21 at the free-throw line.
Against Oklahoma Baptist, UAM shot out to a 51-39 halftime lead and never looked back, leading the entire 40 minutes. Mawuenyega poured in 27 points to lead five Weevils in double figures againt the Bison.
Senior Tyrin Jones scored 22 at Shawnee, Okla., Goosby netted 15 and Hill added 14. Senior Troy Thomas chipped in with 10 points off the bench.
The Weevils’ largest lead over Oklahoma Baptist was 25 points, at the 12:31 mark of the second half, and UAM scored 42 of its points in the paint. The visitors were also able to overcome a 33-12 bench scoring deficit.