What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

GREENWOOD, S.C. – Phillip Brown posted a double-double and Matt Mendell hit six 3-pointers, leading Georgia Southwestern to an easy 93-45 victory over Hiwassee College Thursday afternoon in the final round of the Bearcat Holiday Classic at Finis Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.

Brown had 22 points, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead the Hurricanes, who improved to 6-2 on the season. Mendell made his first six attempts from behind the arc before finishing 6-for-7 with 18 points.

Talmadge Bell added 15 points for Georgia Southwestern, Colin Slotter scored 11 points, and Trayce Macon added 10 rebounds. Tyler Gunnett paced the Hurricanes with five assists.

Zack Williams led Hiwassee (2-13) with 23 points, hitting 10 of 20 shots from the floor. He was the only Tiger to shoot well from the floor. The team went only 17 of 62 (27 percent) from the field, and Williams' teammates were only seven of 42. Hiwassee was two of 14 from 3-point range (14 percent) and nine of 17 from the free-throw line (53 percent).

Meanwhile, Georgia Southwestern shot well from the floor, making 33 of 64 overall (52 percent), including 15 of 20 free throws (75 percent) and 12 of 27 from behind the arc (44 percent).

The Hurricanes had a large 53-29 edge on the boards. Georgia Southwestern's bench out-scored the Tiger reserves 33-13.

The Hurricanes dominated from the outset, building a 9-0 lead in the first four-plus minutes of the game with Brown scoring seven of those points on a layup, a dunk off a pass from Evan Mobley, and a three-point play.

Williams scored Hiwassee's first points of the game at the 16:34 mark and Joel Bailey made a basket in the paint to pull the Tigers within 14-7 with 13:26 left.

But Georgia Southwestern put the game away with a 23-7 run with Brown scoring six and Bell and Mobley five apiece. Mendell's first 3-pointer of the day completed the run, making it 37-14 at the 1:40 mark. It was 39-18 at the half.

Mobley's 3-pointer upped the Hurricane lead to 42-20 with 18:11 left. Then Mendell hit five 3-pointers in as many attempts over the next several minutes, making it 51-26, 60-30, 65-31, 70-33 and 76-33. Jamon Hawkins followed with a 3-pointer of his own, upping the lead to 76-33.

Bell's 3-pointer pushed Georgia Southwestern past the 80-point mark and Brown's dunk made it 83-36 just inside five minutes to go.

Slotter's basket in the paint gave the Hurricanes a 50-point lead, 88-38, with just over two minutes left.

Slotter's free throws with 1:32 remaining pushed Georgia Southwestern past the 90-point mark, making it 91-40.

GSW opens Peach Belt Conference play on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Storm Dome against 13th-ranked USC Aiken.

Story by Lander University Athletics