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GSW ‘Canes win; Lady ‘Canes fall to Clayton State

MORROW – The Georgia Southwestern men’s basketball team rallied from an 11-point first half deficit to defeat Clayton State, 73-62, on Jan. 28 in Morrow. The GSW women’s basketball team (10-8, 4-7 PBC) took Clayton State into a double overtime earlier that evening before the Lakers took the win 90-87.

The Hurricanes won for the second-straight year at Clayton State to even their record this season at 9-9 overall while improving to 4-7 in Peach Belt Conference play. GSW is two games behind North Georgia for the fourth, and final, seed out of the west division for the postseason PBC Tournament. Clayton State sees its five-game winning streak snapped and falls to 14-5 overall and 7-4 in conference play.

GSW fell behind early as the Lakers led 17-7 with 13:17 left in the opening half. Clayton State continued to pull ahead and grab its largest lead of the ballgame, 11 points, at 20-9. The Hurricanes then rattled off a momentum-shifting 11-1 run to pull within a point, 21-20, with 6:31 remaining in the period.

Southwestern claimed its first lead of the evening three minutes later when a Carlton Geathers layup put the Hurricanes ahead, 27-26. GSW led 33-28 at the break.

The Lakers closed the gap to three points early in the second half. That’s as close as Clayton State would get the rest of the game. Southwestern quickly built a nine-point cushion with an 8-2 run sparked by 3-pointers from Damien Leonard and Deric Rudolph. From there GSW slowly added to its lead until a Josh Birchfield layup at the eight minute mark gave the Hurricanes their largest advantage of the evening, 60-43.

Rudolph and Leonard shared top scoring honors with 16 points apiece. Rudolph made four 3-pointers and Leonard sank three. Darius Redding finished with a double-double as he added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Burnell came off the bench to chip in 11 points and a career-high seven rebounds.

The Lady Hurricanes did not fare so well in their match, suffering an 87-90 defeat in double-overtime.

In the first half, Tiara Thompson put in five lay-ups and a free throw to get the Lady Canes 11 of their 45 points. Ja’Quasha Sesler added nine points while Shatoria Hudson and Yvonna Dunkley had seven points each. Shanedra Lockett put in four points and had four rebounds. The Lady ‘Canes took the lead and held an eight point advantage with eleven minutes left and held it for two minutes. The Lady ‘Canes fought hard to hold onto their advantage and led 45-34 going into half-time.

In the second half, GSW scored 34 points. Dunkley put in twelve, including three 3-pointers and Thompson put up seven to help out the Lady ‘Canes. Both teams sank ten of fourteen free throws but Clayton State shot 44.4% and was able to tie up the game and take it into overtime.

In the first overtime period, Lockett sank a trio of free throws and a lay-up while Dunkley drained a three-pointer. Clayton kept pace every step of the way and gained a three-point lead in the last minute. With mere seconds left in the period, Lockett launched a shot from beyond the arc that found the hoop and took the teams into double overtime.

The teams ran neck-and-neck in the second overtime until, in the last minute, Clayton pulled ahead 85-88 with a lay-up. Danisha Green laid one up with 11 seconds left to bring the Lady ‘Canes within one, but a pair of free throws from Clayton put the game out of reach for GSW. Clayton led 90-87 at the buzzer.

The ‘Canes and Lady ‘Canes go on the road on Jan. 31 to face off against Columbus State.