By SCOTT CHANCEY
On Sunday, Georgia Southwestern guard Ric Roderick told his teammates what was at stake against Albany State.
"This game could make or break our season," he said.
While the Hurricanes rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the Rams, 56-52, on Tuesday night, Roderick led the way. One of the senior's 3-pointers keyed a 12-0 run to start the second half, and another tied with game with 2:42 left. After that, an Evan Mobley free throw gave coach Mike Leeder's Hurricanes the lead for good.
"To come back and win like we did, it was amazing," Roderick said of his team's first victory of the season. "It really was."
Roderick, who made three 3-pointers Tuesday and finished with 10 points, had previously struggled beyond the arc. His aim Tuesday was on the mark and he finished with one turnover.
"He's been here four years and I'm glad to see someone who has been here four years make himself into a college basketball player," said Leeder, whose team is 1-2. "It was good to see him have a lot of success (Tuesday)."
Meanwhile, the Rams - in their season opener - were left wondering what happened to their first-half defensive intensity that helped build a 36-21 lead. The offense also suffered after shooting 56 percent before halftime. Southwestern held ASU to 20.8 percent the rest of the game.
At halftime, Leeder told his team not to panic.
"We told them just to try to stay with it and not let the result dictate the effort that we give," Leeder said. "I thought we were playing hard. I told them to try and get in the bonus early and get within six or eight points with 10 minutes left and let's go from there. Don't try to get it all back in the first three minutes."
Once Roderick was behind the arc, scoring the first points after
halftime, GSW owned the intensity. The Hurricanes' Chris Rawls
followed with a dunk, and then Mobley scored a layup to move GSW
within, 36-28. After 3-pointer by Mobley - who scored a game-high
18 points - and a layup by Rawls, Albany State's lead was only,
36-33, with 14:25 left in the game.
Albany State held off GSW for a little while longer, but Roderick's final 3 of the game turned things around for good.
"That was one just to get us back over the hump and get momentum back on our side," Roderick said.
Marcus Scott joined Mobley and Roderick in double figures for the Hurricanes with 14 points.
Jawan Bailey led ASU with 12 points, followed by Jamell Ellerbe with 10.
GSW travels to Fort Valley State on Saturday for a 5:00 p.m. contest. Listen to the game live on WDEC 94.7 FM or via our simulcast on www.gswcanes.com.
PICTURED: Evan Mobley
PHOTO BY: Chris Fenn