AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern senior guard Cameron Dozier scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Hurricanes past Francis Marion University, 80-76, Saturday afternoon in the Storm Dome. It was the Peach Belt Conference opener for both schools.
GSW improved its record to 3-1 at home, 3-5 overall, while Francis Marion saw its mark dip to 4-5. GSW never trailed en route to their second consecutive victory and the first conference win for first-year head coach Ben Hicks.
Dozier picked up where he left off after dropping 30 in the win over Fort Valley State on Wednesday. He opened the game with a 3-pointer and followed teammate Devin Watson's trey with another conversion from beyond the arc to put GSW on top, 9-5, in the early going.
The Hurricanes opened up their first double-digit lead, 24-14, when Brandon Price sank a 3-pointer at the 13:53 mark of the first half and extended the advantage to a game-high 13 points, 29-16, less than three minutes later with a 3-pointer from Tevin Wise.
GSW held off a Patriots run before the break and led, 46-39, at the half.
Rakeem Hicks pushed the Hurricanes lead back to double figures and to their largest lead of the second half, 50-39, when he sank a 3-pointer with 18:52 to play.
Francis Marion used a 14-6 run to erase the Hurricanes advantage and tie the game, 61-61, with 10:29 remaining.
GSW scored the next four points when Dozier sank a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession and Jordan Banks added a layup to give the Hurricanes a small cushion that they would maintain the rest of the way. GSW sank 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Francis Marion entered the game with the Peach Belt's largest rebound margin (+8.3) and they maintained that on figure on Saturday by winning the battle on the boards, 38-30. GSW forced the Patriots into seven more turnovers, 18-11, and the Hurricanes knocked down 10 3-pointers for the third consecutive game. Francis Marion felt the biggest sting at the charity stripe where the Patriots missed 18 of 42 free throw attempts.
Watson added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for GSW. Price scored 12 and Wise scored in double figures for the second straight game, chipping in 10.
Francis Marion was led by Kenneth Jackson's 18 points. Judah Alexander posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Detrek Browning scored 13 points and Warren Specht came off the bench to add 10.
The Hurricanes wrap up their three-game homestand on Monday at 3:30 p.m. against UNC Pembroke. All fans will be admitted free.