DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- John Mason led four players in double-figures with 21 points to go along with eight rebounds as the Georgia Southwestern State University men's basketball team beat North Georgia 84-66 in the regular season finale Saturday.
The Hurricanes handed the Nighthawks the loss in front of 2688 in the opener of the new UNG Convocation Center, improving to 13-13 overall and 9-13 in conference play to secure the No. 7 seed in next week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
Carrod Watson scored 17 points off the bench to lead North Georgia, who fell to 12-16 overall and 10-12 in PBC play. The Nighthawks will be the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament.
How It Happened: The Hurricanes jumped out in front early, opening a 9-2 lead on a Devin Watson layup with 16:57 to go forcing a UNG timeout. After back and forth baskets at each end the Nighthawks closed the gap to 17-12 on a Tyler Dominy layup with 11:29 left in the half, but it was all GSW the rest of the way.
The Hurricanes went on an 18-0 run over the next nine minutes to take a commanding 35-12 lead with 2:23 left in the half. Mason scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds during the stretch that blew open the game. Perry Charles knocked down a 3-pointer for the last basket of the half as GSW took a 38-20 lead into the locker room.
North Georgia wasn't able to make it closer than an 18-point lead the rest of the way as GSW shot 48.6 percent (18-of-37) from the floor in the second half and 7-of-16 from long-range. The Hurricanes built their largest lead of 30 with 2:57 to go in the game.
R.J. Sessions scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half and shot 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range. Sessions grabbed seven rebounds, dished out four assists and recorded two steals. Hasaan Buggs recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds while Devin Watson added 14 points and six boards.
GSW held a 40-38 advantage in rebounds and forced North Georgia into committing 11 turnovers while the Hurricanes gave it away just four times.
Who Stood Out: John Mason set a new career-high with 21 points, topping his previous best of 20 against Augusta on February 17. The freshman has scored in double-figures in six of his last eight games.
Up Next: The Hurricanes will travel to face No. 2 seed UNC Pembroke on Wednesday in the Quarterfinals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at 7:30 p.m.