MELBOURNE, Fla. - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team struggled from beyond the arc in the second half Friday afternoon and faded down the stretch in a 73-62 loss to North Greenville University in the semifinals of the Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament at the Clemente Center. GSW was 0-for-8 from long range over the final 20 minutes.
The Hurricanes fell to 2-2 overall while North Greenville improved its record to 3-2.
GSW found its groove from long range during a 15-5 run in the first half that ended with three consecutive 3-point baskets from Damien Leonard to take its largest lead of the game, 31-24, with 6:40 remaining before the break.
The Hurricanes relinquished their lead in the closing minute of the first half and a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Korval McElroy put North Greenville on top, 42-39, at halftime.
Jure Gunjina made a layup for GSW to open the second half to pull within a point, but that's as close as the Hurricanes would get the rest of the way.
McElroy scored with 12:22 to play to give North Greenville its first double digit lead, 55-44.
The Hurricanes answered with seven unanswered points to pull within four with 9:12 to go, but missed the only two shots they took over the next 2:45 and found the Crusaders back up by nine points, 60-51, at the 6:27 mark.
A late 9-0 run by North Greenville put the game out of reach.
The Crusaders finished with a higher shooting percentage (50.9 percent) than GSW (39.7 percent), dished out four more assists (16-12) and won the battle on boards (37-29).
Justin Dotson knocked down 9 of 15 shots, including 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, and scored a game-high 26 points to lead North Greenville. McElroy chipped in 19 points and Jai Jencks posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Hurricanes play in the tournament consolation game on Saturday against Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras at 3 p.m.