Eckerd holds off West Georgia
Snodgrass scores 15 points, seven rebounds to lead Tritons
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Eckerd is enjoying this dance in the midst of March Madness.
Leading for a near 29-minute span, the sixth-seeded Tritons (21-8 overall) advanced on to the next round in the NCAA tournament on Saturday, sending shockwaves through the field-of-64 bracket with a resounding upset against three-seed West Georgia, 60-53.
The Tritons were dialed in from their arrival in Alabama and showed no signs of being an underdog in the No. 3/6 matchup, assembling a 9-0 run in the first half, and never looked back after breaking a 12-12 tie.
West Georgia, member of the Gulf South Conference, had its season come to an end with a 22-9 record. The GSC's leading scorer, Da'Ron Sims, scored 24 points and Ryan Godfrey added 16.
EC sophomore guard Josh Snodgrass scored five consecutive points in the heart of that key 9-0 surge and finished with a team-high 15 points. He also led the team with seven rebounds and was joined in double-figures by Mack with 12 and Walade Wade with 10.
“Josh (Snodgrass) is such an offensive talented player,” EC Head Coach Tom Ryan said in a postgame press conference. “He played great defense today and he passes the ball well and gets to the rim well. I want him to shoot the ball more from the perimeter so hopefully that will come out more in the next game maybe.”
“In our triangle offense, things just come to every single player,” Snodgrass added. “You have plays that you run in order to make plays. We're about taking quality shots and getting quality opportunities.”
Snodgrass made seven free throws and absorbed contact underneath the basket for four hard-earned field goals. His seven boards helped the Tritons hold a 39-34 advantage on the glass.
West Georgia's poor free throw shooting as a team (last in the GSC, 268th nationally at 61.5 percent) never became a factor.
A relentless Tritons' defense harassed West Georgia into just 21 points in the first half, a total of two points netted by the Wolves' second-leading scorer Gavin Field (1-of-8 shooting) and a season-high 13 steals as a team (five each from Darrien Mack and Wayne Sears Jr.).
The 6-8 Field came into the contest averaging 14 points per game, was hounded into poor looks at the basket and missed a two-handed slam dunk attempt in the first half.
Sears Jr. and Mack jumped passing lanes and ball screens, proving to be problematic for the UWG guards looking to dump easy entry feeds into the post.
Sears Jr. hit an open three from the top of the key and made a highlight-reel one-touch pass to Wade in the post for an easy bucket in transition in the second half as the Tritons' lead swelled to 12 on two separate possessions.
Woody Taylor came back into the game after suffering an injury to the face and made a floater in the lane while drawing contact for a three-point play. Eckerd also led by 12 following a friendly bounce on a turnaround jumper from Lance Kearse in the lane.