AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern men's basketball radio announcer Ricky Burgess asked listeners if the Hurricanes could get a mulligan during the opening minutes of Wednesday evening's 58-57 Peach Belt Conference loss to the University of Montevallo in the Storm Dome. It's probably safe to say GSW head coach Mike Leeder would have concurred with making such a request as the Falcons scored the first 17 points of game and held the Hurricanes scoreless until the 14:20 mark of the first half.
The good news, if there was any for the Hurricanes five minutes into the contest, was that there was plenty of time for a comeback.
And come back they did. Slowly and methodically, GSW chipped away at what seemed an insurmountable deficit.
The Hurricanes pulled within seven points, 17-10, before the Falcons stretch their advantage back to 14 points at the halftime break, 34-20. Alan Arnett scored 10 points in the first half for GSW which matched the total for the rest of the team.
Montevallo held the 14-point lead two minutes into the second half, 38-24, until the Hurricanes made their move. A 19-5 run where Jamon Hawkins drained a 3-pointer on three-consecutive possessions sparked the momentum swing.
Arnett hit two free throws to tie the game at 43-43 with 10:29 on the clock. Arnett made two more free throws before Hawkins gave GSW its first lead of the game, 47-45, with 9:07 to go.
GSW opened its own cushion, a six-point margin at 53-47, with seven minutes left.
An 11-4 rally by Montevallo put the visitors ahead a final time with 2:41 remaining. Neither team would score the rest of the way. A pair of missed free throws and three turnovers kept GSW off the scoreboard. The Hurricanes had the ball with 21 seconds but could not get a good look and heaved a desperation shot at the buzzer.
GSW shot 60 percent from floor in over the final 20 minutes. The Hurricanes hit 5 of 8 from beyond the arc, a better percentage (62.5) than from the free throw line where they were 8 of 13 (61.5 percent).
Hawkins was on fire down the stretch, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the second half.
GSW outrebounded Montevallo 15-10 in the second half after trailing 15-14 over the opening 20 minutes.
Arnett finished the night with team highs in points (21) and rebounds (6). It's the third-straight game Arnett has led the team in rebounding. Arnett and Hawkins accounted for 72 percent of the Hurricanes points.
GSW (50.0 percent) finished with a higher field goal percentage than Montevallo (43.4), more rebounds (31-25) and more bench points (27-4) while holding the Falcons 16 points below their season average.
Drico Hightower scored a game-high 22 points for Montevallo. Hightower also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while the PBC's leading rebounder, Marvin Fitzgerald, managed six boards. Troran Brown added 13 points for the Falcons.
The Hurricanes slip back to .500 with a 7-7 record overall and a 3-4 mark in the PBC. Montevallo improves to 9-5 overall, 4-2 PBC.
GSW begins a four-game road trip on Saturday against Flagler College at 3:30 p.m.