'Canes End Home Stand With 4th-Straight Win

AMERICUS - Johathan Brooks scored a season-high 28 points to guide the Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team to an 86-80 victory over Columbus State on Saturday afternoon in the Storm Dome.

GSW wrapped up its four-game home stand with its fourth-straight win and improves to 16-3 overall and 8-2 in the Peach Belt Conference. The Hurricanes remain tied with Montevallo atop the West Division of the PBC. Columbus State falls to 10-7 overall and 4-6 in PBC play.

A 3-pointer from Brooks at the 15:46 mark of the first half gave GSW a 6-5 lead. It turned out to be an advantage the Hurricanes would not relinquish until the final two minutes of the contest.

Southwestern went on a 14-2 run in the middle of the first half to jump out to a 17-point lead (29-12), their largest of the afternoon. The Cougars chipped away at the deficit and trimmed the margin to eight in the closing seconds of the period. CSU had an opportunity to go in at the break down by six, but Brooks came up with a steal in the lane with eight seconds on the clock and found Alan Arnett on a long pass that led to a layup ahead of the horn. GSW led 41-31 at halftime.

CSU was unable to gain any ground on the Hurricanes for the first 12-plus minutes of the second half. A Daryl Davis dunk with 7:41 to play kept the GSW lead at 10 points, 64-54.

After a quick 6-0 run brought the Cougars within four points, Jahmad Saleem took over for CSU and would not let GSW stretch its lead. Saleem scored 10 of the Cougars next 12 points, capped by a jumper that pulled CSU within three, 75-72 with 2:49 remaining. R.J. Sessions connected on a 3-pointer three possessions later to put CSU ahead 77-75 with 1:40 on the clock.

The CSU lead would not last long. Brooks answered with a 3-point play on the ensuing possession after pulling down a pair of offensive rebounds. The Hurricanes forced two CSU turnovers in the final 84 seconds and made 8 of 10 free throw attempts to seal the victory.     

Southwestern shot 49.2 percent from the floor in the contest while Columbus State finished at 47.5 percent after a red-hot 60.6 percent effort in the second half. The Cougars were efficient from the free throw line, missing only one of 17 attempts (94.1 percent). GSW knocked down 17 of 22 (77.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Hurricanes outrebounded CSU, 36-29, and dished out eight more assists (19-11).

Brooks followed up Thursday's 20-point performance with a season-high 28 against CSU. He connected on 5 of 6 from long range, pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked three shots. Arnett chipped in 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Davis scored 15 and Kevin Burnell added 14.

Saleem paced CSU with 23 points and six assists coming off the bench. Kenney Funderburk sank all eight of his free throw attempts en route to his 22-point performance. Sessions added 14 points.

The Hurricanes hit the road for a matchup with Lander University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.