The College of Coastal Georgia men are looking to right the ship after a few shaky performances when they host Sun Conference rival Ave Maria at 7:30 p.m. today.
It’s been two weeks since the last time the Mariners (9-7, 4-2) took the court in a 93-69 victory against Alice Lloyd College on Dec. 16, but the Christmas break couldn’t have come at a better time for a team that finished a four-game home stand 1-3.
Although the three losses came by a total of 18 points, it was the way in which Coastal Georgia that cause the most frustration.
Coastal led by 20 at halftime against Warner University in a game it ultimately lost by six. In the following game against Webber International, it was a poor start that doomed the team in its five-point defeat. Against Life University, Coastal Georgia simply came up short in a back-and-forth affair.
Ave Maria (9-6, 2-3) is the first of two games in Brunswick this week before Coastal Georgia heads out to embark on a three-game road trip through Jan. 19.
Jaylen Smallwood is the Mariners’ leading scorer this season at 17.9 points per game, and he’s taken his game up another notch since the beginning of December — averaging 23.6 points in five games last month.
Eli Wade and Au Dukes have also been strong contributors for Coastal this season, averaging 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds and 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds, respectively.
For Ave Maria, the duo of Leo Behrend and Gianpaolo Riccio have are each scoring more than 18 points per game, the former also pulling down 9.2 boards. Romello Bates is also a well-rounded threat for the Gyrenes, averaging 11.8 points, 6.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per contest.
The Gyrenes’ women will also travel to Brunswick in the midst of a 13-2 season to face the 9-5 Mariner women.
A rolling Ave Maria won’t be anything new for the Coastal Georgia women, who faced off against Division I Georgia Southern and a undefeated Milligan College team in its previous two contests, even handing the No. 23 Buffaloes a 30-point loss.
Brianna Gipson ranks No. 27 in NAIA basketball at 17.3 points per game and No. 29 with 9.1 rebounds. The Mariners as a whole rank third in the nation with a .519 3-point field goal percentage.