MORROW - The 18th-ranked Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team opened up some breathing room in the Peach Belt Conference West Division with a 78-67 win over second-place Clayton State at the Athletics and Fitness Center on Wednesday evening.
Georgia Southwestern has won nine of its last 10 games and improves to 15-4 overall and 8-2 in the Peach Belt. Clayton State falls to 15-6 overall and 6-4 in the PBC. The Hurricanes hold a two-game lead over the Lakers and Montevallo.
The two sides exchanged runs in the first half as GSW jumped to 12-4 lead, only to see Clayton State answer with a 19-4 run and take its largest lead of the game at 23-16 with 7:11 left in the first half.
GSW regained the lead for good at 27-26 and went on to take a 32-28 advantage into the halftime break.
It was the first eight minutes of the second half that proved to be the difference in the game as Clayton State managed only three points during that time span. Ahead 32-30, GSW went on a 15-1 run to take a double-digit lead.
Trayce Macon started the rally with a three-point play, followed by a three-point basket by Colin Slotter to give the Hurricanes an eight-point lead. Another three-point basket by Slotter increased the GSW lead to 47-31 at the 13:51 mark.
After Clayton State trimmed the Hurricane advantage to 13 points on a driving lay-up by Timmy Downs, GSW answered as point guard Evan Mobley connected on two three-point baskets around a baseline lay-up. His second three-point basket increased the Hurricane lead to 62-43 at the 7:21 mark.
Clayton State would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Slotter, one of the top freshmen this season in the Peach Belt, paced GSW with 20 points, while Macon and Mobley each scored 16 points.
The Hurricanes shot 55 percent from the field and from 3-point range in the second half. For the game, GSW shot 82 percent (27-for-33) from the free throw line and out-rebounded the Lakers, 40-24.
Downs scored a game-high 28 points for Clayton State. Brandon Robinson scored 17 points, and Zach Bradley added nine points.
The Hurricanes return to the Storm Dome on Saturday to face Montevallo at 7:30 p.m. for Homecoming.