DAHLONEGA, Ga. - The Georgia Southwestern men's basketball team suffered an 88-83 defeat Wednesday evening against the University of North Georgia in Memorial Hall after holding an 18-point lead early in the second half.
GSW suffered its fifth loss in six games and fell to 7-15 overall this season, 5-10 in the Peach Belt Conference, while North Georgia improved to 13-11, 9-6 in the PBC.
The Hurricanes came out flat, missing six of their first seven shots, turning the ball over three times and falling behind 12-2 over the opening five minutes. GSW trailed 14-5 with 12:40 left in the half before things turned around in a hurry. Cameron Dozier, Tyrone Wooten and Devin Watson combined to go on an 11-2 run in two minutes to erase the deficit and even the score at 16-16.
A pair of Wooten free throws at the 9:01 mark gave GSW its first lead of the night, 20-18. The Hurricanes stretched the margin to as many as 10 points on two occasions before settling on a 41-32 lead at the break.
The Hurricanes were sensational from the charity stripe over the opening 20 minutes, connecting on 17 of 18 attempts, but behind the 3-point line both sides struggled, going a combined 0 of 13.
GSW opened the second half with a 11-2 run to open its largest lead of the night, 52-34, with 16:56 to play.
North Georgia managed to shave a few points off the Hurricanes advantage, but a Wooten jumper with 14:51 on the clock, put GSW ahead by 13.
The Nighthawks answered by rattling off 13 consecutive points to wipe out GSW lead.
Southwestern regained a small advantage for the next four minutes and held its last lead at 65-64 following a Wooten layup. Tyler Dominy scored the next basket to put North Georgia on top with 6:44 to play and the Nighthawks never trailed again.
GSW had four of its five starters score in double figures. Wooten made 8 of 10 shots en route to posting his third double-double in four games. He dropped 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Dozier sank all seven of his free throw attempts and finished with 19 points. Brandon Price chipped in 15 and Rakeem Hicks scored 12.
Ephraim Tshimanga a game-high 24 points to lead North Georgia. Shaquan Cantrell added 16 and Ross Morkem finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards.
The Hurricanes travel to Clayton State on Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. game.