AMERICUS, Ga. -- The Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball team came all the way back from 16 points down to take the lead with 5:40 to play only to have Clayton State University spoil the ending and hand the Hurricanes a 75-69 loss on Wednesday evening in the Storm Dome. Hasaan Buggs scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to post his eighth double-double of the season and lead GSW. Aubrey McRae paced the Lakers with a game-high 22 points.
The Hurricanes dropped their fourth consecutive game to fall to 9-7 overall and 5-7 in the Peach Belt Conference while Clayton State has won six of its last eight to improve to 10-5, 8-3 in the PBC.
How It Happened: GSW got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-3 out of the chute. Clayton State eventually pushed the margin to 16 points when a Justin Tuckson jumper made the score 37-21 with 8:49 left before the break and the Lakers took a 46-33 lead into halftime.
The Hurricanes scored the first seven points of the second half to quickly pull within six points, but Clayton State methodically worked its advantage back to 12, 56-44, with 12:30 to play. GSW answered with a 13-0 run, capped by a strong drive to the basket by Dajion Macklien, that gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the evening with 7:40 remaining. The two sides flip-flopped the lead eight times over the next 5 1/2 minutes until Kyle Kincey sank a 3-pointer with 2:16 on the clock to put Clayton State ahead, 71-69. R.J. Sessions tried to answer on the next trip down the floor for GSW, but his 3-pointer rolled halfway down before popping out and the Hurricanes were held without a basket the rest of the way. Clayton State sealed the victory by connecting on four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds.
Clayton State showed why it's the PBC leader in assists and 3-point field goal percentage. The Lakers dished out 17 assists on Wednesday (1.6 above their season average), and drained 7 of 13 from long range (53.8 percent). GSW was outrebounded, 42-34, and committed two more turnovers, 13-11.
Who Stood Out: Buggs nearly locked up a double-double in the second half alone as he scored 11 points and snagged nine boards over the final 20 minutes. Devin Watson made 3 of 5 from from long range en route to his 18-point night. Sessions scored 17.
Up Next: GSW hosts North Georgia (8-9, 6-5 PBC) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.