ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team gave the University of Georgia all it could handle on Thursday night in Stegeman Coliseum but fell just shy of an upset as UGA prevailed, 65-61, in a season-opening exhibition meeting.
The Hurricanes held a 26-23 lead at the halftime break while holding UGA to 34.5 percent shooting. The Bulldogs came up empty on all six of their 3-point shots over the opening 20 minutes while GSW drained 5 of 13 from long range. Damien Leonard connected on 4 of 7 from beyond the arc and 6 of 9 shots overall to pace the Hurricanes with 16 points in the opening period. GSW led by as many as five points on three different occasions.
Following a Leonard basket with 19:21 to play that put GSW ahead 28-25, Hurricane shooters went ice cold and UGA capitalized with an 11-0 run. GSW missed nine consecutive shots and committed three turnovers over a seven-minute span.
The Bulldogs held their largest lead of the night, 13 points, with 2:52 to play at 57-44, but GSW would not go away. The Hurricanes worked their way to the line over the final five minutes where they were a perfect 10 of 10 from the charity stripe. GSW fired from long range as well to quickly shave the deficit and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range to pull within four points before running out of time.
Leonard led all scorers with 25 points. He connected on 10 of 18 shots, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, and added six rebounds. Darius Redding made 11 of 14 free throw attempts en route to his 15-point night. Redding led the Hurricanes with eight rebounds and four assists.
Yante Maten led UGA with a double-double. Maten scored 10 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds. Juwan Parker added 10 points off the bench.
Southwestern opens its regular season on Nov. 19 at Fort Valley State.