FORT VALLEY, Ga. - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team opened its 2014-15 regular season with a 72-56 victory at Fort Valley State on Wednesday evening.
GSW matched a program record by connecting on 14 3-pointers in the game. The Hurricanes set the pace early from long range, as their first five made field goals came from beyond the arc. Deric Rudolph opened the contest with a 3-pointer and GSW never relinquished the lead. The Hurricanes held a 17-8 advantage before they made their first 2-point field goal, a Darius Hoisten jumper with 8:56 remaining in the first half. That basket sparked a 12-2 run that helped GSW open its largest lead of the first half, 19 points, at 29-10.
A 3-point play by Desmond Lofland to close out the opening period pulled the Wildcats within 11 at 39-28, but it's the closest Fort Valley State would get the rest of the night.
GSW went on a 12-4 run to start the second half triggered by 3-pointers from Rudolph and Damien Leonard. The Hurricanes stretched their lead to 24 points with 6:24 to play when Colin Slotter drained a 3-pointer to put GSW up 66-42.
Leonard led all scorers with 22 points. He connected on 6 of 11 from beyond the arc, added five rebounds and dished out three assists. Rudolph finished with 14 points, as did Kevin Burnell. Josh Birchfield pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds despite playing only 18 minutes due to early foul trouble. Cameron Venus led all players with five assists.
D'Areial Franklin came off the bench to score 12 points and lead FVSU (0-2). Lofland added 11. Jordan Cornelius grabbed a team-best six rebounds.
Southwestern travels to Pembroke, N.C. for a 4 p.m. game on Friday with Southern Wesleyan in the UNC Pembroke McDonald's Classic.