AUGUSTA, Ga. - The 23rd-ranked Georgia Regents University Augusta men's basketball team put together a 17-0 run late in the game Thursday afternoon at Christenberry Fieldhouse to push past Georgia Southwestern, 68-58, in the Peach Belt Conference opener for both schools.
The Hurricanes watch their three-game winning streak get snapped and fall to 5-3 overall, 0-1 in the PBC while GRU won its third-straight game and improved to 8-1, 1-0 in conference play.
GSW and GRU were all square at 11-11 after the opening seven minutes on Thursday. The Jaguars proceeded to go on an 8-0 run and from there it felt as though Southwestern was playing catch up most of the way.
The Hurricanes cut the deficit to four points, 22-18, on a Damien Leonard 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the first half only to have Devonte Thomas answer with a 3-pointer on the other end for GRU. Kevin Burnell followed with a 3-pointer for GSW at the 4:46 mark to pull within four again, yet Thomas was there one more time to drain a shot from beyond the arc for GRU.
GSW pulled within five points, 29-24, after Darius Redding sank a pair of free throws with 2:19 on clock, but back-to-back 3-pointers from GRU, including another from Thomas, quickly stretched the margin to 11. A Burnell 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half kept the GRU advantage within single digits, 35-27, after 20 minutes of action.
Devon Wright-Nelson scored the first basket of the second period to put GRU ahead by 10 points, but the Hurricanes chipped away at the deficit and eventually, after back-to-back dunks from Redding, regained the lead, 50-49, with 8:38 to play.
The Jaguars quickly swung the momentum back in their favor and answered with the game-clinching 17-0 run. GSW did not help their cause by turning the ball over five consecutive times down the floor during that stretch.
Southwestern finished the game shooting nearly identical from 3-point range compared to 2-point field goal attempts. The Hurricanes made 10 of 24 from long range and 10 of 23 inside the arc. GRU outrebounded the Hurricanes, 35-28, and made three more steals, 8-5.
Leonard paced the Hurricanes with 14 points. Burnell made 4 of 7 attempts from beyond the arc for his 12 points, all of which came in the first half. Redding scored 10 points and posted team highs in rebounds (5), assists (3) and steals (3).
GRU's Thomas led all scorers with 17 points. Wright-Nelson and D'Angelo Boyce added 11 points apiece. Henry McCarthy came off the bench to grab a game-high 10 rebounds.
Southwestern plays its final game of 2014 on Saturday at Lander with opening tip scheduled for 3:30 p.m.