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ATLANTA – In every game, there are a succession of plays that occur or decisions by a player which shift the scoreboard in favor of one team or another.
Morehouse sophomore Michael Olmert made many of those plays/decisions during a game-changing stretch in the first half to put the Maroon Tigers ahead and keep them in that position until the final buzzer sounded in a 91-86 win over West Georgia at Forbes Arena on November 21.
Last year, the kids all played together and we won 18 games,” Morehouse coach Grady Brewer said. “I didn’t lose anybody to graduation. It was a young group so they are a little early on what we’re doing. The four things I told them to do is buy in, play their role and stay hungry and humble–they are doing that right now.”
Omar Alston led Morehouse with 18 points, and Duby Maduegbunam and Tyrius Walker added 15 and 14, respectively, but Olmert’s nine assists (11 total) before halftime gave the Tigers the spark to improve to 5-0 and drop the Wolves to 3-1.
“Michael is the heir apparent to Tyrius,” Brewer said. “He is a great facilitator–a true point guard and we lean on him heavily for our offense because he gets the ball to the people at the right time in the right place.”
From the 14-minute mark of the first half to just under 8 minutes, Morehouse went on a 20-4 run to go from trailing by three to leading 29-16. Olmert started the surge with back-to-back assists to Maduegbunam, who made consecutive 3-pointers. Later, Olmert converted back-to-back layups before assisting on the Tigers’ next three baskets for a 27-16 advantage.
With Morehouse still owning a double-digit lead later in the half, Olmer had another stretch of finding shooters, resulting in four straight baskets even though West Georgia responded with a 10-2 run for a 44-36 score at the break.
In the second half, the Tigers never allowed the Wolves to get within a possession of tying or regaining the lead until the closing seconds despite impressive offensive outputs from Marquill Smith (22 points, 13 rebounds) and William Sides and Greg James, who scored 18 points apiece.
“I thought they got a lot of 50-50 balls tonight so we got to work on that and we got to learn how to manage the lead better,” Brewer said.