December 7, 2013

No. 24 Hurricanes Hold Off Georgia College

AMERICUS - Jamon Hawkins scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to hold off Georgia College, 75-73, on Saturday afternoon in the Storm Dome and help No. 24 Georgia Southwestern remain undefeated.

Hawkins connected on 5 of 8 shot attempts in the second half, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, to post his third game of 20 or more points this season.

GSW improved its record to 9-0 overall, which extends the best start in program history since Southwestern joined the NCAA in 2006-07, and 1-0 in the Peach Belt Conference. Georgia College dropped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in PBC play. While Georgia College leads the all-time series during GSW's NCAA era, 11-4, the Hurricanes have won the last three meetings.

The two sides went back-and-forth over the opening 17 minutes on Saturday. The game was tied five times and there were eight lead changes. That was until Kevin Burnell gave the Hurricanes some breathing room heading into the break. GSW went on an 11-0 run to close out the half. Burnell scored 10 of the 11 points while draining a pair of 3-pointers over that stretch. GSW led 34-25 at halftime.

After a Daryl Davis dunk gave GSW a 40-32 lead five minutes into the second period, Georgia College went on a 11-2 run to jump ahead 43-42. The Bobcats could not extend their lead to more than two points and when Darius Redding dunked with 7:57 remaining to put GSW up 50-48, the Hurricanes would not forfeit the lead again.

A Johathan Brooks 3-pointer put GSW on top by 10 (67-57) with 2:27 to play, but four missed free throws opened the door for a quick Georgia College comeback. Ryan Blumenthal hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to cap a 13-4 run that pulled the Bobcats within a point.

When Georgia College proceeded to ask for a timeout it didn't have following the Blumenthal basket, Hawkins connected on the ensuing technical free throws to pave the way for the Hurricanes victory.

In the second half, the Hurricanes took 16 fewer shots than Georgia College. GSW collected seven of its nine blocks over the final 20 minutes. Johathan Brooks swatted three.

Davis collected his first double-double of the season as he scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He was a perfect 6 of 6 from the floor. Redding was also 6 of 6 shooting en route to his 16-point night off the bench. Burnell added 10 points. Brooks pulled down a team-high 13 boards.

The Hurricanes connected on 53.3 percent of their shots in the game. GSW has shot over 50 percent in its last three contests. Georgia College finished at 43.8 percent overall. GSW held a slight advantage in most statistical categories, including rebounds (36-35), assists (10-9) and bench points (26-22).

The nine blocked shots by Southwestern matches a NCAA era program record.

Blumenthal and Aaron Robinson scored 14 points apiece to lead the Bobcats. Royal Thomas added 12 and Terrell Harris chipped in 10. Larrentis Thomas grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Southwestern travels to Morrow, Ga., on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. game against Clayton State.