MONTEVALLO, Ala. - For the second time in 11 days, the Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team has handed a Peach Belt Conference west division leader its first home loss of the season. On Feb. 2 it was a 94-82 victory at Young Harris. On Wednesday night, the Hurricanes defeated Montevallo, 73-68, in the BankTrust Arena.
Jamon Hawkins provided the spark for GSW with a career-high 28 points on 8 of 9 shooting. Hawkins connected on all four of his 3-point attempts and was 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
GSW has climbed back over the .500 mark with a 12-11 overall record, won five in-a-row and evened its PBC record at 8-8. Montevallo has lost two in-a-row and sits at 15-8 overall and 11-5 in the PBC, a game back of Young Harris in the loss column of the west division standings.
The teams played an even first half on Wednesday with the score tied 27-27 at the break.
The second half saw more of the same competitiveness. Montevallo grabbed its largest lead of the night - six points - at 37-31 with 16:18 to play. GSW remained close and eventually regained the lead, 52-50, when Daryl Davis converted a pair of free throw attempts with 7:28 remaining. The Hurricanes could not extend the margin to more than two and Montevallo took the lead back with 4:06 to go on a Troran Brown layup.
GSW responded and secured the lead for good, 65-63, on a Matt Shaw jumper with 1:58 on the clock. The Hurricanes connected on 6 of 8 free throws in the closing moments to ensure the win and Alan Arnett put an exclaimation point on the victory with his dunk with four seconds remaining.
Southwestern shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half and Hawkins scored 22 of his 28 points over the final 20 minutes. The Hurricanes have been over 50 percent in the second half in 15 of their 23 games this season with an 11-4 record in those games.
Montevallo entered the evening ranked first in the PBC in shooting percentage and 3-point shooting, but came short of their season averages against the 'Canes. The Blue & Gold held Montevallo to 42.4 percent shooting (averaging 49.5 percent) and 30.6 from beyond the arc (averaging 43.7 percent).
GSW won the battle of the boards, 31-22, and outscored Montevallo in bench points, 20-4.
UM's Troran Brown led all scorers with 31 points. It's the most points by an individual against GSW this year. Drico Hightower added 13 points. Marvin Fitzgerald finished with a double-double after scoring 12 points and pulling down a game-high 10 boards.
The Hurricanes return to Americus for Saturday's homecoming game against Augusta State at 3:30 p.m.