Blowouts get Boll Weevils back on track
“This loss could be good for us—if we will use it to learn and get tougher and better,” University of Arkansas at Monticello head men’s basketball coach Kyle Tolin said of his Boll Weevils after Southern Nazarene University finished a double-digit upset of UAM on Nov. 18.
Message received—loud and clear.
The Weevils opened a four-game Steelman Field House home stand with two blowout wins of their own, 110-59 over Texas College the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and 95-62 over Philander Smith (Ark.) College the Saturday after the holiday.
Improving its early season overall record to 5-1 against two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics teams with which most would think UAM would have little trouble anyway, the Weevils set the stage for a return to Great American Conference play Thursday and Saturday.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University visits Monticello for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff Thursday and East Central University wraps up pre-Christmas league action for the overwhelming choice to win the 2017-18 GAC regular-season championship at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought we played better,” Tolin said of the easy victories over the Steers and Panthers. “I thought we took a step in right direction. I know the competition wasn’t as good, but thought our team got better.
“We had a good week on the defensive end of the court, holding both opponents to their lowest points on the season and held both of them to 40 percent from the field. Hopefully this last week gets us heading in the right direction.”
Senior Cobe Goosby had the most productive week individually, leading UAM in scoring against Philander Smih with 24 points and being one of five Weevils in double figures against Texas College with 15. Backcourt running mate Karim Mawuenyega was nearly as potent offensively, netting 21 points last Tuesday and 16 Saturday.
UAM was in no danger of losing either contest, leading all but 3 minutes, 29 seconds of the entire 80 minutes. The Weevils’ largest leads were 55 points against Texas College and 36 against PSC. In all but the first period of the Philander Smith game, UAM scored at least 51 points in a half.
Hot shooting helped the Weevils, too. In the Texas College contest, UAM made 43 of its 69 field goals—a 62.3 percentage—and against Philander Smith, UAM connected on 31 of 53 shots from the field, for 58.5 percent. Those gaudy numbers pushed the Weevils’ season field-goal percentage to 53.9.
Senior Tyrin Jones paced UAM over the Steers with 22 points. Aside from Mawuenyega’s 21 and Goosby’s 15, seniors Troy Thomas and Derylton Hill also surpassed the 10-point barrier, adding 17 and 11 points, respectively.
Against PSC, a couple of newcomers, senior transfer Tedrian Brisco and junior transfer Jamil Maddred, chipped in with 11 points apiece.
Following this weekend of conference action, UAM will step outside the GAC for the last time. The Weevils will visit old Gulf South Conference rival Delta State Uniersity in Cleveland, Miss. on Saturday, Dec. 9, then wrap up the 2017 portion of their schedule by hosting the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on Saturday, Dec. 30.