'Canes End 2011 With a Bang, Win 90-57
GREENWOOD, S.C. – Georgia Southwestern made a big impression on a Peach Belt Conference rival's home floor.
The Hurricanes won their second consecutive game at the Bearcat Holiday Classic Friday afternoon, using an 18-1 run early in the second half in a 90-57 victory over the College of Coastal Georgia at Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.
The Hurricanes shot 63 percent from the floor including 70 percent in the second half and improved to 9-2 on the season.
Coastal Georgia dropped to 2-13.
GSW finished 2-0 at the BHC and never trailed in the tournament, which included Thursday's 68-52 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Hurricanes return to Lander on Jan. 7 to play the Bearcats in a Peach Belt Conference game.
Milos Kleut led the Blue & Gold with 16 points Friday, Tyler Gunnett came off the bench to score all 14 of his points in the second half, and Marlon Rivera (6-for-6) and Phillip Brown (4-for-5) were nearly perfect from the floor in scoring 13 points apiece. Brown scored 39 points in the two tournament games.
Colin Slotter had a pair of dunks during the second-half flurry and finished with eight points for GSW while Evan Mobley also scored eight. Kleut led the Hurricanes with seven rebounds, Bobby Glover paced GSW with five assists, Mobley led the team with four steals, and Brown blocked two shots.
Mike Manning led the Mariners with 21 points, making seven of 15 shots from the floor and seven of eight from the line. Reggie Burke added 10.
GSW made 35 of 56 shots from the floor (62.5 percent) including 21 of 30 in the second half (70 percent). The Hurricanes made 17 of 27 free throws (63 percent), shooting only a half percent higher from the line than the floor. They made three of nine from 3-point range (33 percent).
The Mariners made 18 of 53 shots (34 percent), 16 of 22 free throws (73 percent), and only five of 23 from behind the arc (22 percent).
The Hurricanes had a 39-24 edge on the boards, a 62-18 lead in points in the paint, a 24-4 fast-break points advantage and they forced 25 turnovers.
After Burke hit a 3-pointer for Coastal Georgia's first points of the game at the 15:49 mark, the Hurricanes responded with an 8-1 run to take their first double-digit lead at 14-4 with 12:47 left. Mobley hit a 3-pointer and Kleut converted a three-point play during the run.
Burke's jumper got the Mariners within 19-10 at the 8:38 mark. But Kleut's free throws extended the lead to 16, 29-13, with 5:33 to go.
After Manning scored the game's next six points on a fast-break layup and four of four free throws to cut Coastal Georgia's deficit to 10, the Hurricanes stretched the lead to 14 by halftime. Rivera's steal and dunk completed the first-half scoring, making it 39-25.
Marcus Morrison scored inside and Jared Paul hit two of three free throws as the Mariners scored the first four points of the second half, closing within 39-29. But GSW blew the game open with an impressive 10-0 run.
Mobley's steal and pass to Slotter for a dunk started the 10 consecutive points, Rivera made a jump shot, Brown dunked off Rivera's inbounds pass, and Slotter made a pair of fast-break baskets including another dunk to complete the run to make it 49-29 with 15:53 left in the game.
Although Manning scored to end the run, the Hurricanes continued to pull away. While the 10-0 run was over, GSW scored eight more unanswered points to extend its run to 18-2. Kleut converted a three-point play, Jamon Hawkins scored in the paint, Kleut hit a free throw and Glover added a layup for a 57-31 lead at the 13:48 mark.
Brown's one-handed dunk off a long pass from Slotter made it 61-36 at the 12-minute mark.
Paul and Kyland Clark hit 3-pointers as the Mariners tried to keep pace late. But they still couldn't cut into Southwestern's lead as Gunnett led the Hurricane reserves with a flurry of points, making all five of his second-half shots.
With two minutes left, Colby Czerepinski, the only freshman on GSW's roster, scored his first collegiate points as he hit a 3-pointer to give the Hurricanes an 86-54 lead.
GSW has won six-consecutive neutral site games during the regular season, including all four matchups this year, and finishes 2011 with a perfect 9-0 nonconference record.
The Hurricanes play Peach Belt games the rest of the way, beginning with the Jan. 7 contest at Lander.
Special thanks to Lander University Sports Information