MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team led Georgia College by 13 points with 16:22 left in the second half only to lose 72-64 inside the Centennial Center on Saturday afternoon. The Hurricanes have squandered a double-digit second half lead in five of its last six games, with three leading to defeats.
Southwestern sees its record dip to 17-6 overall and 9-5 in the Peach Belt Conference. Georgia College snaps a four-game skid to improve to 8-12 overall and 4-9 in Peach Belt play. Despite the loss, GSW continues to hold on to second place in the West Division of the PBC.
The Bobcats held a small lead for most of the opening 10 minutes of the contest. A pair of free throws from Royal Thomas with 10:35 remaining in the first half gave GC its largest advantage of the period, 15-9.
GSW responded with a 13-3 run, capped by a Daryl Davis 3-point basket with 4:33 left in the half, to take the lead away from the Bobcats.
After two more free throws from Thomas pulled GC within a point, Southwestern closed out the half on another run, this time a 9-2 burst that gave the Hurricanes a nine-point halftime lead, 31-22.
Johathan Brooks sank a pair from the free throw line with 16:22 remaining to give the Hurricanes their largest lead of the afternoon, 39-26.
From there, the Bobcats began to chip away at the deficit.
Kevin Burnell scored eight-consecutive points for GSW to hold off the home team for a few minutes. His free throws with 10:33 to play made the score 52-45.
GC had climbed all the way back when Ryan Blumenthal knocked down a jumper with 5:43 on the clock to put the Bobcats ahead 59-58.
Derrick Dawkins' layup on the ensuing possession gave GSW its final lead of the game.
The following 7-2 GC run put the Bobcats up by four points with 1:49 remaining. Davis connected on a pair of free throws on the next possession to bring the Hurricanes within a bucket, but GSW was unable to score its final three times with the ball allowing GC to close out the game with its largest lead of the afternoon.
GC outscored Southwestern, 50-33, in the second half while shooting a red-hot 62.5 percent (20 of 32). The Bobcats came into the game last in the PBC in 3-point shooting percentage (28.6) but connected on 5 of 10 overall against GSW. The Hurricanes also fared well from beyond the arc, shooting over their season average (36.1 percent). GSW made 8 of 20 (40.0 percent) from 3-point range and that number was brought down by a pair of misses in the closing seconds with the game out of reach.
GC ranked 12th of 14 teams in the PBC in rebounding margin before the day started, but grabbed six more boards (36-30) than the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Burnell drained 5 of 8 from beyond the arc and led GSW with a career-high 19 points. Davis added 17. Brooks pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Terrell Harris made 10 of 14 attempts from the floor en route to his game-high 25 points for the Bobcats. Thomas scored 17 and Blumenthal chipped in 12.
Southwestern enters the toughest stretch of its schedule as the next three opponents are ranked in the Top 25 of the national coaches' poll.
GSW returns to Americus to host No. 10 Montevallo on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.