February 22, 2014

Senior Day Setback; 'Canes Rally From 16 Back Before Losing In OT

AMERICUS – The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team played in their last regular season home game for the 2013-14 season against Peach Belt Conference opponent Clayton State on Saturday afternoon in an overtime battle, finishing with the Lakers leading by four at the final buzzer, 74-70.

GSW lost its third-straight game and dropped to 18-9 overall and 10-8 in the PBC. Despite the loss, the Hurricanes remain the No. 2 seed in the PBC Tournament out of the West Division. Clayton State, still in the hunt for a birth in the tourney, improved to 10-14 overall and 6-11 in  PBC play. 

The score was close throughtout the first half as the two sides were tied five times and the lead changed hands on seven occasions. GSW enjoyed the largest lead of the opening period by either team when Alan Arnett made a layup to put the Hurricanes ahead 17-11 with 10:14 remaining before the break.

Clayton State managed to eventually regain the lead, 22-21, off an Omari Murray jumper at the 3:57 mark. The Lakers went into the intermission up 26-25. 

The first seven-plus minutes of the second half were not kind to the Hurricanes as GSW was outscored 17-2 and trailed 43-27 with 12:04 remaining. Rather than pack it in and call it a day, GSW began to claw its way back into the ballgame. The Hurricanes answered with 13 unanswered points, eight of which came from Daryl Davis and trailed 43-40 with 8:04 on the clock.

Southwestern had come all the way back from 16 down when Davis drained a 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the second half to put the Hurricanes back on top, 53-51.

In the closing minute of regulation Kelsey Terry tipped in a basket for Clayton State and Sidarius Henry followed with a pair of free throws to put GSW down by three with 37 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Johathan Brooks wasted no time draining a 3-pointer to even the game at 60-60. Brooks and Jamon Hawkins thwarted the Lakers attempts to move the ball up the floor and the horn sounded without a shot attempt from the visitors.    

Seniors Adrian Knight, Hawkins, Brooks, Davis and Arnett stayed in the game from the 5:14 mark in the second half when Davis checked into the game for Josh Birchfield until the 3:10 in overtime when Kevin Burnell came in for Knight.

The course of overtime seemed as though the game would go into a second overtime, until leading scorer Davis was sent to the bench early with five fouls with 1:22 on the clock. The game was narrowing to a finish with five total sets of free throws by both sides. Birchfield and Burnell made their free throws bringing GSW within two points of Clayton State. In the final seconds, Charles Shedrick sealed the Lakers upset victory with a dunk.

Davis poured in a game-high 25 points to lead GSW. Brooks notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, added four blocks and dished out four assists. Arnett chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. Hawkins contributed seven points and five rebounds. Knight added five points.

Shedrick led Clayton State with 18 points. Murray posted a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Henry added 14 points and seven boards.

Southwestern had six seniors recognized for their years of commitment and hard work to the GSW basketball program. Seniors Knight, Davis, Hawkins, Brooks, Arnett, and Derrick Dawkins were given plaques of their accomplishments in a presentation in front of the home crowd before tipoff.

In addition, the Storm Dome was decked out in pink accessories for the Zeta Tau Alpha Brest Cancer awareness in an annual Pink Day game. Raffle tickets were sold throughout the women's and men's game to benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation.

The Hurricanes wrap up the regular season on March 1 at North Georgia. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.