Turn and Burn
AMERICUS, Ga. – After a rough start to the conference portion of their schedule, the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes came home this three-day weekend sitting in last place in the PBC West Division after three straight conference losses. A turnaround was needed, and the Canes completed the holiday weekend sweep with an 83-54 victory over the visiting Saints of Flagler (6-10, 0-9 PBC).
It was mission accomplished for the Hurricanes behind their usual calling card: defense. GSW only conceded 54 points on 33.3% (19-57) from the field and 18.8% (3-16) from beyond the arc. Coach Leeder and company hammered the glass out-rebounding Flagler 45-29. They forced 19 Saint turnovers, which included ten Hurricane steals.
While the defense effort was there, one should not overlook the Blue & Gold's offensive execution. GSW shot 57.6% from the floor on Saturday afternoon. That number was the highest among the Hurricanes' five conference games. The high percentage was due in part to Phillip Brown's offensive efficiency. The senior forward shot 11-13 from the field against Flagler, which followed his 7-11 performance two days earlier against Armstrong Atlantic.
Brown and the rest of the Georgia Southwestern starters tallied sixteen assists to only nine turnovers. The starting five also stayed out of foul trouble with only one starter picking up three fouls while the rest only registered two fouls apiece.
Leading the way individually for the Canes was Phillip Brown with 22 points and ten rebounds, which were both game highs. It duplicated his output in GSW's victory over Armstrong Atlantic on Saturday. The Jonesboro native also tallied two assists and two steals.
Junior Bobby Glover was second in scoring for Georgia Southwestern with twelve points. Glover, who is averaging 5.6 points per game, has averaged eleven points per game since entering the starting lineup three games ago. Rounding out the scorers for GSW were Milos Kleut and Jamon Hawkins who each scored ten points off the bench. Hawkins also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds to go along with his tying of his career high of ten points.
The Blue & Gold scored the game's first nine points and never trailed during Monday's game. Their lead would hover around 17 points for much of the first half before pushing it to 22 points by halftime. The Hurricanes would push the lead to 39 points with 4:41 remaining in the game. After emptying the bench, GSW's lead would be cut to as few as 27 points before finishing the game with a 29-point lead.
Junior Adrian Knight would also enter the record books on Monday afternoon. The former tennis standout from Thomasville recorded his first career points on a breakaway layup off a Jamon Hawkins, which garnered an ovation from the Storm Dome crowd.
Flagler was led by freshman guard Matt Clark who scored 16 points and recorded four steals. Jarrod Branco, with ten points, was the only other double-digit scorer for the Saints.
The victory pushed the Georgia Southwestern record to 11-3 (2-3 PBC). The two victories in three days has moved GSW from last to third in the PBC Western Division. It will be back to the road for the Hurricanes as they will play two games in three days out east. The road trip opens with a rendezvous with the Augusta State Jaguars on Saturday, January 21st at 7:30 p.m.