WILSON, N.C. -- The Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball regular season opened with a pair of close losses at the Barton College 45 Second Classic over the weekend. GSW lost to the host, Barton, on Friday evening, 80-72, before wrapping up their stay in Wilson with a 59-57 loss to Mount Olive on Saturday morning.
Barton is tied with King University atop the 2018-19 Conference Carolinas preseason coaches poll and Mount Olive follows in third place.
How It Happened:
Game 1: Georgia Southwestern 72, Barton College 80
GSW cut a 12-point deficit down to two points over the final five minutes of the first half to trail 36-34 at the break.
In the second half Barton dialed it up from long range, connecting on 6 of 11 attempts (54.5 percent) from 3-point range to pull away from the Hurricanes. GSW turned the ball over five more times than Barton over the final 20 minutes.
The Hurricanes were within four points, 70-66, with 2:15 to play, but that's as close as they could get.
GSW finished with a 37-29 rebounding edge and a higher field goal percentage (55.2-49.1) than Barton, but seven more turnovers in the game (18-11) and 3-point shooting proved to be the difference. The Bulldogs hit 9 of 22 from beyond the arc, while GSW managed 4 of 17. Barton more than doubled up the Hurricanes in assists as well (17-8).
Game 2: Georgia Southwestern 57, Mount Olive 59
Saturday morning's contest was close throughout as there were 10 lead changes and neither side led by more than eight points.
The teams were tied at halftime, 29-29. GSW committed 14 turnovers in the first half to offset its plus-9 in the rebounding category.
The Hurricanes knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions in the final 28 seconds to quickly shave a game-high eight-point deficit down to two, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.
GSW finished with a substantial 50-29 rebounding edge, but as was the case Friday night, turnovers haunted the Hurricanes. GSW turned the ball over 26 times which led to 24 points for the Trojans. On the flip side, Mount Oliver committed 12 turnovers which the Hurricanes could only manage to generate three points.
Who Stood Out: The Hurricanes had four players score in double figures on Friday, led by R.J. Sessions with 17 points. Sessions connected on 8 of 13 shots. Quenten Taylor scored 16 points, Kwei Lartey added 13 and Jalen Morgan finished with 10. Andre Statam was a bucket shy of a double-double, with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
On Saturday, Morgan turned in the Hurricanes first double-double of the season as he led the team with 15 points and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Up Next: The Hurricanes return home to host Fort Valley State at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.