Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

February 9, 2013

‘Canes dominate Columbus State, 96-66, in pivotal Peach Belt West Division contest

AMERICUS — In the second game of a women-men double header on Thursday in Americus, the Georgia Southwestern State University Hurricanes would welcome the Columbus State University Cougars to the storm dome for a pivotal Peach Belt Conference West Division contest. The winner of the crucial game would have the inside track to a berth in the postseason while the loser would need to close the season out very strongly to be considered for postseason play. For GSW, the tough challenge with everything on the line was met with a resounding desire to win, and when all was said and done the Hurricanes grabbed a convincing PBC victory and put themselves in excellent position to make a postseason run.

As the game tipped off the Hurricanes quickly got onto the scoreboard first with a long Milos Kleut hook shot. Each team would hit some timely shots to start off the game, but seven early points from Daryl Davis would lead the ‘Canes to an early 10 point advantage as GSW jumped out in front 20-10.

With an already sizable lead, the Hurricanes would turn to senior forward Matt Shaw, and he would not disappoint the home crowd. Shaw would hit his first basket of the night while being fouled, and nail the charity basket to give the ‘Canes a 23-14 lead. A three-pointer, followed by two free throws and another three-pointer from Shaw would stretch the Hurricane lead to 31-17, and a powerful dunk by Davis with only 54.6 seconds remaining would put the exclamation point on a 39-27 first half.

Kleut would also start the scoring in the second half with a tough basket under the goal, and Shaw would send up another three-pointer to stretch the Hurricane lead to 44-27 following the intermission. In the second half alone, Shaw would send three three-pointers through the net, and fellow ‘Cane Jamon Hawkins would add five three-pointers of his own to help the ‘Canes grow their already impressive lead to 30 points at 74-44 with 8:13 left in the game.

With 5:34 remaining, Columbus State’s most productive player, Jahmad Salem, would foul out of the game. The Hurricanes used that momentum to rattle off nine unanswered points, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock head coach Mike Leeder and his Hurricanes began to celebrate their decisive 96-66 win over one of their biggest rivals.

Shaw finished his tremendous night with 27 points, followed by Hawkins with 22 points. Davis scored his first double-double of the season with 13 points and ten rebounds, and Alan Arnett and Michael Tankersley each added 11 points in the win.

Leeder said his team can be very dangerous down the stretch, especially if Shaw and Hawkins continue to shoot the basketball as well as they did on Thursday night. “When we shoot it like that we can put up a good point total,” he said. “Those are two capable shooters and as we are coming down the home stretch they could not be heating up at a better time.”

The win for GSW pushed their overall record to 10-11 and their PBC record to 6-8. Columbus State falls to 10-11 overall and 5-9 in the PBC. GSW is currently tied for fourth place in the PBC West Division with Clayton State who is also 6-8 in conference play.

Next up for the ‘Canes will be a road test as they travel to Montevallo on Wednesday, February 13 for another very important PBC match-up. The men’s game is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m., following the women’s game at 6:30 p.m.

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