Late Surge Carries 'Canes Past Pirates, 75-63

AMERICUS - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team outscored Armstrong Atlantic State University 23-9 over the final 7:12 to rally for a 75-63 victory on Monday evening in the Storm Dome.

With the win, GSW surpasses its win total from a year ago while improving to 14-3 overall and 6-2 in the PBC. Armstrong falls to 6-10 overall and 3-6 in PBC play.

The Hurricanes stumbled out of the gates against Armstrong. The Pirates built a 23-12 lead over the opening nine minutes. Alan Arnett and Jamon Hawkins accounted for all of GSW's points during that time until Daryl Davis knocked down a 3-pointer with 10:57 left before the half to cut the Armstrong lead to 23-15.

The Pirates eventually stretched their advantage to 12 points, 31-19, before Arnett and Hawkins struck again, this time with 11-consecutive points for the Hurricanes to pull within four, 34-30. The sides swapped buckets over the final minute and Armstrong took a 36-32 lead into the halftime break.

An Eric Eversley jumper with 16:34 remaining in the second stanza gave Armstrong an eight-point lead, 45-37. The Hurricanes struggled to gain much ground on Armstrong over the next seven minutes and with 9:44 left on the clock Hichem Benayad-Cherif knocked down a jumper to put the Pirates ahead, 51-46. That basket would prove to be Armstrong's final field goal of the night.

Free throws were all the Pirates could muster the rest of the way. Hawkins drained a 3-pointer with 7:12 left to give GSW its first lead of the night, 55-54, and moments later Davis and Johathan Brooks threw down back-to-back thunderous dunks to shift the momuntum to the home side. The ensuing 3-point basket by Hawkins capped a quick 11-1 run that gave GSW an 11-point lead with four minutes to go and put the game on ice for the Hurricanes.   

Southwestern shot 43.9 percent from the floor in the contest while Armstrong shot 34.5 percent. GSW held Armstrong to just five baskets in the second half (5 of 24). The Pirates were 0-for-10 from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes.

The Hurricanes dished out four more assists (14-10) while forcing Armstrong into six more turnovers (19-13). Armstrong showed why they're the top team in the league when it comes to cleaning the glass, pulling down 17 more rebounds than the Hurricanes (49-32).

GSW had season-highs with 12 steals and 10 3-point baskets. 

Arnett led all scorers with 24 points. He was 8 of 15 from the floor, added four assists and grabbed a team-high 10 boards. Hawkins connected on 5 of 8 attempts from beyond the arc en route to his 19-point night. Brooks chipped in 18 points, four assists and four steals.

A trio of Pirates paced Armstrong with 13 points apiece. Eversley, Benayad-Cherif and Emmanuel Tiluscar locked in the baker's dozen. Montel Baines added 10. Eversley snagged a game-high 12 rebounds.

Game three of the Hurricanes four-game home stand comes Thursday when Southwestern hosts North Georgia at 7:30 p.m. A ceremony will be held five minutes prior to opening tip as the court in the Storm Dome will be named after former GSW men's head basketball coach Randolph Barksdale.

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