AMERICUS, Ga. -- A stellar 17-point first half effort by Devin Watson lifted the Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball team to a 12-point halftime lead that provided enough cushion to resist multiple second-half runs by Clayton State University and the Hurricanes finished with a 78-68 Peach Belt Conference victory in the Storm Dome Wednesday evening. Watson made 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and 7 of 9 shots overall over the opening 20 minutes.
How It Happened: The Hurricanes led by as many as 20 points in the first half after holding the Lakers scoreless for a seven-minute stretch during a 10-0 run.
Clayton State cut the margin to single digits eight times in the second half and got as close as five points, 73-68, with 1:37 to play, but the Lakers came up empty on their final three possessions and GSW won the second of its last three games.
GSW (5-22, 3-18 PBC) made 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half, but went ice cold over the final 20 minutes, missing all eight attempts. Overall, Hurricane shooters hit the 50 percent threshold for the third straight game. GSW dished out eight more assists (15-7), finished with a slight edge in rebounding (37-35), and pitched a defensive shutout in bench production, outscoring the Lakers, 18-0.
Who Stood Out: Watson finished with a season-high 23 points. Jamari Dean posted his third double-figure rebounding night of the season as he led the Hurricanes with 10. R.J. Sessions scored 17 points and Quenten Taylor chipped in 13. All five players honored on GSW Senior Night - who were physically cleared to play - started the game (Watson, Taylor, Sessions, Kwei Lartey and Andre Statam). Graduate Jalen Morgan has been out of the lineup with an injury since Jan. 30.
Clayton State (9-18, 6-15 PBC) has lost six of its last seven games and with this defeat, is eliminated from postseason contention. The Lakers were led by Kyle Kincey's 32 points. Jaylen Taylor grabbed 13 rebounds. Only two Clayton State players scored in double figures.
Up Next: GSW hosts North Georgia on Saturday to close out homecoming week, as well as the 2018-19 season. Tip is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.