Feb 05, 2016
CARROLLTON, Georgia -- Adrian Tolbert had a monster game with 16 points and 20 rebounds to lead West Georgia Tech over the LaGrange College junior varsity team, 73-63 Thursday in Carrollton.
West Georgia Tech took control of the game in the final three minutes after leading by just one, 62-61 with 3:21 remaining. Jalen Bracey hit a layup to put WGTC up by three and the West Georgia Tech defense locked down, allowing just one bucket by the Panthers the rest of the way, a garbage-time tip-in with :08 on the clock.
West Georgia Tech hit 6 of 7 from the free throw line in the last 90 seconds to seal the win.
Tolbert, the leading rebounder in the conference with 11.6 per game, is averaging 19.0 rebounds per game over the last four contests while recording at least 20 rebounds in three of those four games.
The Northgate product now has four 20-plus rebounding games this season. Twelve of Tolbert's 20 rebounds Thursday were offensive boards, as WGTC grabbed a season high 28 offensive rebounds. The Golden Knights won the overall rebounding battle, 63-45.
"Adrian continues to carry us, especially with his presence on the glass, getting those rebounds," WGTC head coach Niki Okolovitch said. "I can't stress how important that is to us as a team, to rebound the ball and play good half court defense. If we can do that on a consistent basis, we have a chance to win games where we don't play our best overall. I think our kids are starting to learn that."
Jalen Bracey led WGTC in scoring with 19 points. Bracey led the team in assists with seven, as WGTC did a much better job executing on the offensive end without point guard Dominique Lindsey, who sat out a second-straight game to heal from a wrist injury. Lindsey will be back Monday night when WGTC plays at Southern Crescent, according to Okolovitch.
Bryan Foster, the hero in WGTC's miracle win at Georgia Northwestern on Tuesday night, scored 14 points in 18 minutes of action.
Donovan Grubb added ten points on 4 of 9 shooting to round out the double-figure scoring for West Georgia Tech.
The game was tight throughout, with 14 lead changes and eight ties. LaGrange's largest lead was six, which came with 6:49 left in the first half. The Panthers led 33-31 at intermission.
A Bryan Foster three with 11:49 left put WGTC in front 49-47 and the Golden Knights would never trail again. Jalen Bracey added a long-range shot two minutes later, putting WGTC in front by five, 53-48.
LaGrange battled back to tie the game at 55-55 with 8:01 left. The game stayed within a three-point margin over the next six and a half minutes until WGTC wrapped the game up on the free throw line in the final 90 seconds.
Both teams struggled offensively, with West Georgia Tech shooting 30.4 percent from the field (24 of 79) and 20 percent from long-range (5 of 25), while the Panthers were held to 32.3 percent shooting from the field (20 of 62) and 35 percent from three-point range (7 of 20).
West Georgia Tech, now 12-12 overall, turns its attention to the most important week of the season as the Golden Knights face a pair of conference road games, at Southern Crescent Monday night and at Oxford College Saturday afternoon. Those games will wrap up the conference schedule and shake up the standings, which will ultimately determine the regular-season champion and seeding in the Region 17 Tournament.
WGTC is currently tied with Oxford atop the GCAA/Region 17 standings, at 3-1, with Oxford holding the tiebreaker by virtue of its win over WGTC in Carrollton last week. Southern Crescent is one game back, at 2-2, following an 89-87 loss to Oxford on Thursday. The Tigers will be playing with their backs against the wall Monday night, desperately needing a win to stay in the hunt for a first place finish in the final standings.
Both Southern Crescent and Oxford will play Georgia Northwestern in addition to WGTC next week, with the Bobcats (0-4 in conference) in the position of having a chance to play spoiler.
"Next week is huge for us," Okolovitch said. "But more for the fact that we are trying to get everything to come together offensively and defensively. We have had good nights on both ends, but rarely have we consistently had a good night on both ends. But we have shown that we can win or lose to anybody, so I'm more focused on our improvement as a team than where we finish in the standings or our seeding in the tournament. If we go on the road in those two environments and play well, and even win, that tells me that we are making strides at the right time of the year."
West Georgia Tech beat Southern Crescent on January 11 in Carrollton, 77-53, breaking a three-game losing streak to the Tigers.
Tip time Monday night is at 7:30 p.m., following the women's game, which starts at 5:30 p.m., in Griffin. WGTC and Oxford will tip Saturday at 4 p.m.
Visit www.WGTCAthletics.com for more information on West Georgia Tech Golden Knights athletics.