YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. -- R.J. Sessions scored six of his game-high 21 points in overtime, including a clutch 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining, to lift the Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball team past Young Harris College, 88-82, Saturday afternoon in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center. The Hurricanes improved to 7-3 overall and picked up their third consecutive Peach Belt Conference win (3-3) while Young Harris fell to 3-10, 2-5 in the PBC.
How It Happened: The Hurricanes turned in their best shooting effort of the season, connecting on 33 of 63 shots (52.4 percent), and their best rebounding performance, controlling the battle of the boards to the tune of a plus-13 margin (47-34).
The first half was close throughout with the largest lead of six points being held by GSW with 14:48 left before the break, 15-9. Young Harris led by five in the closing seconds of the half, but a 3-pointer by Sessions with three seconds to go pulled GSW within a bucket, 37-35, at halftime.
Hasaan Buggs knocked down a jumper to put GSW back on top, 47-45, with 14:43 left and the Hurricanes would hold onto the lead until the final possession of regulation. An eventual 14-6 run that ended with 3:51 to go, gave GSW a 12-point lead, its largest of the afternoon, but Young Harris had one final push left. The Mountain Lions forced five turnovers and held GSW without a field goal for over three minutes to set up some last second drama.
Dajion Macklien made the second of two free throw attempts with 25 seconds remaining to give GSW a two-point lead, 77-75. Following a timeout, Young Harris missed a short jumper and a put back layup before the ball squirted out of bounds off GSW with 8.9 seconds on the clock. After another timeout, Young Harris worked an easy layup off the inbound pass under their basket. GSW tried to catch the Mountain Lions off guard, but the long throw in sailed untouched, over the head of its intended target, setting up an opportunity for Young Harris to get the final play of regulation off another inbound play along the baseline on their offensive end of the floor. The Mountain Lions never got a good look though as the GSW defense knocked the ball loose following the entry pass and once regained, the off-balance shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
The Sessions 3-pointer in overtime proved to be the difference maker. He tacked on a pair of free throws with seven seconds to go to seal the Hurricanes second overtime victory in four days and snap a seven-game losing streak in conference road games.
Young Harris came into the contest ranked second in the PBC in steals at 8.6 per game and they improved on that number against the Hurricanes, coming up with 11 on Saturday. GSW dished out a season-best 22 assists and turned in its best night shooting from beyond the arc this season as well, connecting on 8 of 16 from long range. The Hurricanes committed eight more turnovers (22-14), which led to a plus-nine advantage in points off turnovers (19-10) for Young Harris.
Who Stood Out: Buggs ran his consecutive double-double streak to four games as he finished with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The big man added five assists. Quenten Taylor led all players with six assists and added 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Sessions made 7 of 12 shots, including 4 of 7 from long range, and grabbed eight rebounds. Devin Watson chipped in 18 points and dished five assists. Andre Statam grabbed eight rebounds.
Up Next: GSW returns to Americus to begin a three-game homestand Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Columbus State.