Strong First Half Propels GSW to 68-52 Win

Strong First Half Propels GSW to 68-52 Win

GREENWOOD, S.C. - Phillip Brown scored 26 points as Georgia Southwestern dominated the first half and cruised to a 68-52 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne University in the first round of the Bearcat Holiday Classic Thursday night at Finis Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.

The Hurricanes improved to 8-2 while L-R dropped to 4-6.

Brown scored his game-high 26 points in 27 minutes of action, making 11 of 17 shots from the floor while hitting four of five free throws. He also grabbed nine rebounds, sharing game-high honors with teammates Marlon Rivera and Milos Kleut.

Colin Slotter scored all nine of his points during a key first-half run for GSW, Kleut also scored nine points and Rivera had a game-high eight assists and three steals.

Allan Jones led the Bears with 17 points while D.J. Blackmon added 10. Denzel Dillingham, Blackmon and Jones paced L-R with four rebounds apiece.

After grabbing a 6-5 lead in the opening five minutes of the game, the Hurricanes scored nine unanswered points to take control early. Bobby Glover started the run with a 3-point basket,  Rivera followed with a pair of free throws and Brown scored twice to give GSW a 15-5 lead at the 13-minute mark.

Jones completed a three-point-play to pull the Bears within 18-10 with 11:47 until halftime. That's when the Blue & Gold blew the game open, closing the half with a 21-4 run for a 39-14 halftime advantage.

Evan Mobley started the run with a 3-pointer and Slotter scored nine points, including a 3-point shot that made it 34-14 with 5:15 remaining before the break. Will Kenimer followed with a 3-pointer at the 3:04 mark and Glover added two free throws with 1:40 on the clock as the Hurricanes scored the final 10 points of the opening stanza. GSW held the Bears scoreless over the final six-plus minutes of the half.

GSW maintained its 20-plus lead through much of the second period, taking its largest lead of 29 points on a Brown 3-point basket, making the score 59-30 with eight minutes remaining.

The Hurricanes connected on 14 of 28 shots (50 percent) in the first half while holding the Bears to six of 25 (24 percent).

GSW finished the night shooting 41 percent from the floor (24 of 58). L-R ended at 33 percent (17 of 51) while making one of seven attempts from beyond the arc.

The Hurricanes dominated the boards, outrebounding the Bears 49-26, and turned the advantage into a dozen more second-chance points (17-5).

Southwestern wraps up 2011, and the Bearcat Holiday Classic, with a 1:30 p.m. tip tomorrow (12/30) against Coastal Georgia.