GREENWOOD, S.C. – Talmadge Bell, Phillip Brown and Evan Mobley combined for 47 of Georgia Southwestern's 63 points as the Hurricanes fought off a late Lenoir-Rhyne rally, beating the Bears 63-60 Wednesday in the Bearcat Holiday Classic opener at Finis Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.
Bell scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half, Brown scored 16 points and Mobley added 13 for Georgia Southwestern, which improved to 5-2 on the season. Brown added nine rebounds while Trayce Macon also had nine boards and three blocked shots, including a key block in the final minute. Mobley led the Hurricanes with six assists.
Allan Jones led Lenoir-Rhyne (2-7) with 17 points, Jeff Thomas scored 15, and Kevin Davis added 12. Jones led the Bears with six rebounds while Davis added five assists. Nathaniel Shaw had two blocked shots.
Georgia Southwestern hit six 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the opening half, building a 23-13 lead with 10:19 left. Bell made three of those treys while Macon, Tyler Gunnett and Mobley had one apiece.
But the Bears climbed back into the game with seven unanswered points, pulling within 23-20 on Davis's three-point play, and two layups by Jones.
Bell hit the Hurricanes' seventh 3-pointer of the half to end L-R's run, but Davis answered with a trey to pull the Bears back within three, 26-23, with 3:37 left. Georgia Southwestern was up 28-26 at the break.
Thomas's three-point play tied the game at 30 in the first two minutes of the second half, and he added a basket to put L-R on top for the first time at 34-32. But Georgia Southwestern would soon regain the lead for good on Bell's fifth 3-pointer of the game and a Mobley basket in the paint.
Brown's dunk off a pass from Mobley increased the Hurricanes' lead to 39-34 with 14:44 left. Davis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to pull L-R within 44-42, but Brown answered with a 3-pointer, Mobley drove inside for a layup, and Brown followed with a put-back for a 51-42 advantage. But the Hurricanes missed a dunk and a layup on consecutive trips to prevent them from further pulling away.
Bell's layup increased Georgia Southwestern's lead to 53-44 at the 6:30 mark. But Jones converted a three-point play to cut L-R's deficit to six, 53-47, with 6:18 left. Then Davis hit a 3-pointer to pull the Bears within a possession, 53-50, with 4:32 to go.
Brown's jumper ended a long Hurricanes' scoring drought, making it 55-50 with 4:10 left.
Down just 57-53 inside the three-minute mark, the Bears missed a shot in the paint which would have pulled them within two. Mobley hit two free throws to push the lead back to six at the 2:02 mark.
L-R had another chance to pull closer, with Thomas hitting two free throws to pull his team within 59-55 with 1:49 to go, followed by a Georgia Southwestern turnover. But the Bears missed another shot from close range.
Mobley's free throws with 51 seconds left pushed the Hurricanes' lead back to six.
Thomas answered with a reverse layup with 35 seconds to go, pulling L-R within four points for the fourth time in three minutes.
Brown made one of two free throws to increase the lead to five. The Bears tried to score quickly, but they missed a mid-range jumper, then Macon blocked an inside shot attempt by Jones, knocking the ball out of bounds. L-R took advantage of maintaining the possession, and Jon Hathcock banked an off-balance 3-pointer to pull the Bears within 62-60 with 11 seconds to go.
Macon hit one of two free throws with six seconds left to increase the lead to 63-60.
Lenoir-Rhyne's Bryce Hawkins missed a long, desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
For the game, Georgia Southwestern made 19 of 46 shots from the floor (41 percent), 15 of 20 free throws (75 percent) and 10 of 23 from 3-point range (44 percent).
L-R hit 20 of 43 shots from the floor (47 percent), 15 of 26 from the line (58 percent), and five of 11 from behind the arc (46 percent).
The Hurricanes had a 29-28 edge on the boards. Each team had 11 turnovers.
Georgia Southwestern meets Hiwassee Thursday at 1:30, followed by Lander versus Lenoir-Rhyne at 3:30.
Story by Lander University Athletics