DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Amid a four-game losing streak, the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes were looking to simply secure a win and a winning season for 2011-12. Their match-up on Saturday afternoon versus North Georgia was favorable. Their two-point win over the Saints on February 1st in the Storm Dome was the only win for GSW in their last nine games. It was not to be for the Hurricanes as they dropped their twelfth PBC game 70-65 at North Georgia.
Jamon Hawkins would score a career-high 20 points to go along with his four assists in the losing effort. It would mark the third time this season the sophomore had set or reset his career high in points. Hawkins was one of three double digit scorers for GSW, which also included Evan Mobley with 15 points and Milos Kleut with twelve points. The trio combined to score 72% of all Hurricane points.
GSW's calling card has been defense, but they struggled to lock down the Saints. North Georgia shot 24-45 (53.3%) from the field for the game and an even better 62.2% (5-8) from beyond the arc. The Saints also out-rebounded the Hurricanes by nine.
The home Saints would get out in front early and lead for the game's first eleven minutes. It wasn't until Tyler Gunnett's three-pointer with 8:13 to play in the half that the Hurricanes would have their first lead of the game at 22-20. However, North Georgia would answer the Gunnett basket with a 10-0 run over the next 4:08.
Georgia Southwestern would fight the remaining 4:08 to tie the game 33-33 at halftime courtesy of two more Tyler Gunnett points. The junior guard's two free throws capped a 11-3 by the Blue & Gold to end the first half.
Statistically the two teams were neck and neck as the tie score would suggest. Coach Leeder and company shot an impressive 53% (10-19) from the field, which was aided by the Hurricanes converting on all four of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Canes also converted nine of their eleven free throw attempts in the first half, which was almost 18% higher than their average as the worst free throw shooting team in the PBC.
Guard Jamon Hawkins (nine points and three assists) and center Milos Kleut (eight points and three rebounds) accounted for over half GSW's scoring in the first half. They were two of six Hurricanes to score in the first half.
North Georgia put the game on tilt by scoring 21 points in the first eleven minutes of the second half to grab the 54-47 lead. The Hurricanes would come back again to tie the game with 3:15 thanks to a Jamon Hawkins steal and lay-up to make it 62-62.
North Georgia's Clarence Tillman would score on the next two possessions to put the Saints back up 67-62. A technical foul would be assessed to North Georgia, and Jamon Hawkins would make both technical foul shots. Mobley would split the following pair of free throws to bring GSW to within two points with 1:13 left to play.
Neither Hawkins nor Mobley would be able to hit jump shots as the Hurricanes wouldn't come any closer than two points in the final minute of the 70-65 loss.
The loss puts the Georgia Southwestern record at 12-12 overall (3-12 PBC). Coach Leeder and crew will return to the Storm Dome for their home finale on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday's game against Georgia College will be senior night for GSW's four seniors Marlon Rivera, Phillip Brown, Will Kenimer and Evan Mobley.