UAM men split two more in GAC

For many, roller coasters are enjoyable. For University of Arkansas at Monticello head men’s basketball coach Kyle Tolin, it’s a good bet he’s looking for a way to get off.
The Boll Weevils, the runaway pick to win the Great American Conference regular season before the year began, continued their up-and-down play, losing 82-78 at Ouachita Baptist University last Thursday before rebounding to stop Henderson State University 82-72 Saturday at Steelman Field House.
Yet another split of GAC contests left UAM at 4-4 in league play, 9-5 for the season. A chance to win back-to-back conference games, something the Weevils haven’t done all winter, was temporarily halted by Tuesday’s snowstorm that postponed a trip to rival Southern Arkansas University until 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday. The next outings for UAM are home contests against Arkansas Tech University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Harding University at 4 p.m. Saturday.
At Ouachita, seniors Derylton Hill and Cobe Goosby led UAM in scoring in the losing effort. Hill scored  20 points and Goosby 13. Junior Keelin Jackson chipped in with 12 points.
“We didn’t play with any energy or effort,” Tolin said of the game at Ouachita. “I did think we tried and tried hard the last seven minutes of the game, but didn’t do enough for the first 33 minutes of the game.”
The Weevils controlled much of the pace of the first half, holding slim leads throughout with offensive power coming from both Hill and Goosby. Ouachita, however, began to wake up late in the half, claiming the lead with five minutes to go and holding the 33-29 advantage at the half.
The Tigers gained momentum in the second half, leading UAM by as much as 16 points with just under seven minutes left in regulation. UAM had an answer, though, cutting the hosts’ lead down to just two points with 2:26 left following two made free throws by Tyrin Jones.
The Weevils shot 46 free throws against Ouachita but netted only 35—more than enough to make up the difference.
Against Henderson, Jones led the scoring chart with 20 points but it was double-doubles from both Hill (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Goosby (12 points, 14 assists) that told the story. Karim Mawuenyega added 19 points and Jackson 13.
“We made some adjustments going into this game,” Tolin noted. “We started Keelin Jackson and he really played well. He lead us in deflections, rebounded well and made some shots for us. This was the best we had moved the ball all year, having 24 assists. We also played harder and had 19 offensive rebounds.”
This was a back-and-forth game at the start, until the Weevils generated a small run after a Mawuenyega trey put UAM up 16-8. The Reddies took the lead as the first half wore on, however, and led 35-34 at halftime.
In the second half, the Weevils were not to be denied. UAM opened that stretch with a 15-2 run over five minutes to expand their lead to 49-37. Henderson State would come as close as one point after a made three-pointer at the 5:11 mark, but Mawuenyega accounted for eight straight points down the final stretch, and Jones sealed game with a steal.
Former Monticello three-time All-Stater D.J. Franklin was one of three Reddies in double figures. Franklin, who started as a sophomore, finished the game with 12 points.
Derylton Hill selected to Francis Award watch list
The University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Derylton Hill has been named to the Top 100 Watch List for the 2018 Bevo Francis Award in men’s NCAA Division II basketball.
Hill, a senior forward, has now been selected to the Francis Top 100 Watch List for the second straight year in a row. He currently leads the Weevils in scoring with 17.0 points per game, along with totaling 238 points on the year.
The Palm Bay, Fla. native has earned one GAC Player of the Week selection up to this point in the 2017-18 season, along with leading the UAM to a 9-5 overall record.
Hill also leads the Weevils in rebounds per game (7.1), total rebounds (99), field-goal attempts (154), field-goals made (89), free-throw percentage (83 percent), free throws made (57) and blocks (10).
The Clarence “Bevo” Francis Award is presented annually to the player who has had the finest overall season within Small College Basketball. Considerations will be season statistics and individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements.

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