February 6, 2014

Weathering The Early Storm; GSW Rallies To Defeat Columbus State

COLUMBUS - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team recovered from an abysmal start, in which they trailed by 19 points late in the first half, to grab a 77-65 Peach Belt Conference road victory over Columbus State on Thursday evening in the Lumpkin Center.

GSW snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 17-5 overall and 9-4 in the Peach Belt. Columbus State falls to 11-8 overall and 5-7 in PBC play.

After posting the first two points of the game almost two minutes in, the Hurricanes were outscored 18-4 over the ensuing five-minute stretch. Josh Birchfield accounted for the only GSW field goal in a span where the team made 1 of 12 attempts.

Southwestern eventually fell behind 29-10 when BJ Battle threw down a dunk for Columbus State with 7:09 remaining in the opening half.

The Hurricanes quickly called a timeout and upon returning to action snatched all momentum away from the Cougars. GSW closed the period on a 26-3 run. During that time, Southwestern hit 8 of 9 field goal attempts, including all four tries from beyond the arc. In addition, the Hurricanes made 4 of 5 from the free throw line and they forced five CSU turnovers. Jamon Hawkins scored 13 points during the run and GSW led 36-32 at the break.

Adrian Knight opened the scoring in the second half with a jumper that put the Hurricanes ahead by six. From there GSW went ice cold again from floor, missing its next 12 shots over a five minute span. CSU was unable to capitalize and could only manage to pull within a point, 38-37.

Hawkins ended the drought with a 3-pointer at the 14:15 mark. Following a pair of CSU free throws, Daryl Davis began what would be a strong final 12 minutes for the senior as he knocked down a 3-pointer for his first points of the game to give the Hurricanes a 44-39 lead with 12:38 to play. Davis scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds and collected two blocks down the stretch.

A DeAngleo Kirkland layup with 10:45 to go gave CSU its final lead of the night, 45-44.

GSW answered with an 8-2 run and would not let the Cougars get any closer than five points the rest of the way.

Davis sank a pair of free throws with 5:23 left to give GSW its first double-digit lead of the game (61-51) and Alan Arnett extended the margin to 15 points (73-58) with his layup at the 3:05 mark.

Southwestern shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the contest while holding Columbus State to its lowest percentage in its last seven games at 37.9. The Hurricanes were efficient from the free throw line, connecting on 15 of 18 attempts (83.3 percent). CSU struggled from the line making 9 of 19 (47.4 percent).

The Hurricanes outrebounded CSU, 27-16, in the second half and shot half as many free throws (14-7).

Hawkins finished with a game-high 20 points to lead GSW. He connected on 4 of 6 from long range. Arnett was a point back of Hawkins with 19. Arnett added eight rebounds and four assists. Davis scored 13 and finished with six boards.

Kirkland paced CSU with 12 points and nine rebounds. Kenney Funderburk was the only other Cougar to score in double figures. He added 10.

The Hurricanes wrap up a brief two-game road trip on Saturday at Georgia College with the opening tip at approximately 3:30 p.m.

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