Dane Sparrow scored 18 points as the Lander Bearcats pulled away from Georgia Southwestern in the second half, defeating the Hurricanes 76-61 in the Peach Belt Conference opener for both teams Monday night in Greenwood, S.C.
Lander improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the Peach Belt. The Hurricanes dropped to 3-3, 0-1.
Anthony Sargent led GSW with 14 points, Evan Mobley scored 10 points, and Chris Rawls added nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Marcus Scott and Ric Roderick also scored nine points for the 'Canes.
Houston Wright added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Bearcats, who won their third consecutive game. Ford Lawrence, Kevin Kelley and Jacob Davis added nine points apiece for Lander while Curtis Milner had four blocked shots.
Lander scored the game's first six points on 3-pointers by Sparrow and Lawrence and maintained the lead through the rest of the first half, but the score stayed tight. Southwestern pulled within one point on four different occasions at 6-5, 8-7, 19-18 and 28-27.
Kelley's 3-pointer gave the Bearcats their largest lead of the first half at 37-30 with 37 seconds left. But Sargent's 3-pointer with three seconds to go pulled GSW within 37-33 at the intermission.
A Milner 3-pointer from the top of the key pushed Lander's lead to double figures for the first time at 47-37 at the 15:51 mark.
Sparrow's basket gave the Bearcats their largest lead of the game at 51-38 with 12:45 to go. Mobley's three-point play pulled the Hurricanes within 51-43 with 12:06 left, but that would be as close as the game would get.
Lander responded with a 12-4 run, with Wright scoring the last five points on a basket and 3-pointer for a 63-47 at the 8:17 mark. Lander expanded the advantage to 19 points, 74-55, with 1:16 to go.
For the game, the Bearcats made 27 of 55 shots from the floor (49 percent), 13 of 18 free throws (72 percent), and nine of 23 from behind the 3-point line (39 percent). GSW hit 21 of 54 shots from the field (39 percent), 15 of 20 free throws (75 percent), and four of 16 from behind the arc (25 percent).
Lander outrebounded the Hurricanes 40-29.