MORROW, Ga. - The 21st-ranked Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team rebounded from a rough start at Clayton State on Saturday afternoon to defeat the Lakers, 62-56, in a Peach Belt Conference matchup and earn their 10th-straight victory.
Southwestern is off to its best start in over 20 years. GSW improved its record to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in the PBC. Clayton State dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in PBC play.
The Hurricanes came out of the gates slow on Saturday. GSW was held scoreless over the opening seven minutes of the game, missed its first 11 shots and trailed 10-0 before Daryl Davis ended the drought with a layup.
Momentum quickly shifted to the visitors as GSW erased the early deficit. A pair of of 3-pointers from Johathan Brooks and another from Kevin Burnell helped the Hurricanes tie the game at 14-14 with 7:24 remaining until halftime. Burnell gave GSW its first lead of the afternoon moments later with a 3-point basket that put the Hurricanes up 17-15.
A pair of Kelsey Terry free throws allowed Clayton State to regain the lead, 20-19, at the 4:07 mark. The Lakers led 30-27 at the break.
An 11-0 run in the middle of the second half turned a three-point GSW deficit into an eight-point lead. The Hurricanes were 4 of 4 from the free throw line and Burnell added a 3-pointer during that stretch which ended with GSW ahead 44-36 with 9:50 to play.
Southwestern opened its largest lead of the afternoon, 53-44, after Alan Arnett sank a pair of free throws at the 4:01 mark.
Clayton State pulled within four points, 60-56, with 23 seconds remaining but Jamon Hawkins sealed the win for GSW when he made a pair from the charity stripe on the ensuing possession.
The Hurricanes shot substantially better from 3-point range than inside the arc against the Lakers. GSW connected on 15 of 42 (35.7 percent) shots from inside the arc while hitting 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from long range. GSW dished out seven more assists (15-8) than Clayton State and held an advantage in points in the paint (22-16) and bench points (19-14).
Southwestern committed two of its season-low seven turnovers in the opening three minutes of the game.
Burnell finished a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor, including 4 of 4 from beyond the arc, to lead the Hurricanes with 15 points. Arnett added 12, all of which came in the second half. Brooks scored 11 and Davis chipped in 10. Brooks and Davis grabbed eight rebounds apiece. Hawkins dished out a season-high eight assists.
Sirdarius Henry led Clayton State with 18 points. Craig Wong added 10. Charles Shedrick was held to eight. He entered the game second in the PBC with a 21.4 scoring average. Omari Murray pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Southwestern returns to Americus to host Fort Valley State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.