GREENWOOD, S.C. – The strength of the Peach Belt Conference's level of play in men's basketball is evident. This made Georgia Southwestern's opening up of conference play with three straight road games that much tougher. After setbacks at Clayton State and Montevallo, the Hurricanes would be unable to remedy their PBC blues, dropping their third straight conference game 74-75 to the Lander Bearcats (9-2, 3-1 PBC).
The Canes were unable to overcome 23 turnovers, which were converted into 24 Bearcat points off turnovers. The turnover bug also overshadowed Phillip Brown's 22 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, Bobby Glover's career-high 15 points and five rebounds and Marlon Rivera's six points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
The Bearcats were led by Corey Wright who scored 21 points and dished out nine assists. Behind him was Jermel Kennedy who registered a double-double with 16 points and ten rebounds.
It was a sloppy first five minutes of the game for the Hurricane offense who had more turnovers (four) than made field goals (three), which saw Lander take an early 10-6 lead at the game's first media timeout at the 14:30 mark of the first half.
GSW would tie the game and then take the lead briefly thanks to 11 points from Phillip Brown in the game's first 15 minutes. With shooting, rebounding and turnover numbers nearly identical for both teams, the game would remain tied for much of the half's final five minutes. The tie game would give way to a 33-32 halftime lead for the Hurricanes after Evan Mobley hit a long three-pointer as the clock expired.
The chink in the armor for the Georgia Southwestern offense was its 11 first-half turnovers and 2-7 (28.6%) shooting from three-point range. Brown led a GSW scorers and rebounders in the first half with eleven points and four rebounds on a perfect 5-5 performance from the field. Fellow starter Bobby Glover recorded seven points and three rebounds in the game's first twenty minutes as well.
To open the second half GSW was unable to score after getting hard-earned stops, and then they would be unable to get stops after scoring. That type of up-and-down play saw GSW lead by as many as five points and trail by a point during that five minute stretch of play to open the second half.
After yet another tie at 51-51 with 12:39 remaining, Tolbert would answer a Phil Brown three-point play with a lay-up to tie the game again at 60 with 8:59 to play. GSW would take the lead on free throws after aggressively attacking the paint and drawing fouls on three consecutive possessions. That three-point lead would last 19 seconds before Dwight Tolbert would hit a three-pointer from a foot beyond the arc.
The stalemate of a game would end after both teams began exchanging one-point leads in the final 90 seconds. After a tough Dwight Tolbert fading shot to give Lander the 75-74 lead with 20 seconds left, Colin Slotter would miss a jump shot off a spin move in the paint to give Lander the victory.
After Saturday's match-up, the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes now have a record of 9-3 (0-3 PBC). They will finally get their first home conference match as they will play host to Armstrong Atlantic on 3:30 pm on Saturday, January 14th inside the friendly confines of the Storm Dome.