January 3, 2013

Hawkins & Davis Career Nights Not Enough; 'Canes Come Up Short Against USC Aiken

AMERICUS - Jamon Hawkins scored a career-high 24 points and Daryl Davis added a career-best 17 in a losing effort as the Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team dropped a back-and-forth affair with USC Aiken, 67-64, Thursday evening in the Storm Dome.

The Hurricanes suffer their first loss in Peach Belt Conference play this season and drop to 6-4 overall, 2-1 PBC. USC Aiken has won five of its last six contests and improves to 7-3 overall and 3-0 in the PBC.

Neither team could gain any separation all night as the game was tied 13 times and the lead changed hands on 17 occasions. USCA's largest lead was eight points in the middle of the second half and the Hurricanes held a five-point advantage eight minutes into the game.

For only the second time this season, GSW did not lead at the half. The two sides entered the break tied, 30-30.

It looked like the Pacers may open things up midway through the second half when a one-point deficit turned into an eight-point lead after three-consecutive three-point baskets came in the span of 63 seconds. USCA led 54-46 with 8:51 to play.

Hawkins and Davis combined to score the next 10 GSW points and help the Hurricanes pull within a point, 57-56, with 5:18 remaining.

The Hurricanes grabbed the lead one final time at 61-60 with 4:12 to go; but USCA answered with a 7-0 run.

GSW managed to pull the game within three in the closing seconds and a Tyler Gunnett steal with nine seconds to go led to a pair of looks at tying 3-point baskets.

Hawkins and Davis combined to finish 7 of 16 from beyond the arc pacing the Hurricanes to a season-high eight 3-point baskets in the game. Matt Shaw posted his first career double-double, finishing with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

GSW did a good job containing USCA's leading scorer, Ronald Zimmerman. Zimmerman entered the contest ranked fourth in the league, averaging 18.7 points. Zimmerman finished with three points. Santoine Butler and Re'mon Nelson finished with 15 points apiece to lead the Pacers. Paul Larsen added 12 and a team-high nine rebounds.

The Hurricane defense was stout once again, holding USCA to 67 points, 19 below its season average. The Pacers, who came into the matchup ranked first in the PBC in 3-point field goal percentage (41.0), were held to 29.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc on Thursday.

Southwestern hosts PBC newcomer Young Harris on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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