• 72°

Thomas scores 31 to lead Hurricanes to blowout win

AMERICUS – Junior guard Soloman Thomas scored 31 points, including eight three-pointers, to lead the Georgia Southwestern State University men’s basketball team to a lopsided 89-62 victory over Fort Valley State University on Monday, December 3, at the Storm Dome on the GSW campus.

With the win, the Hurricanes stay undefeated on the season at 5-0, while FVSU drops to 2-6.

This game was a much different outcome than the first meeting that these two teams had back on Tuesday, November 12. In that first meeting, the Hurricanes earned a hard-fought 72-68 victory over the Wildcats in Fort Valley, GA to begin the 2019-2020 season.

As a team, GSW made 12 three-pointers on the night, shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. For the game, GSW shot 31 for 60 from the field (51.7 percent).

“It’s good to see us shooting the ball well,” GSW head coach Aaron Coombs said. “If you had asked me a month ago after our first couple of exhibitions, I would have thought that would be tough. Soloman got us going and had another great performance. I’m happy for our guys. I’m happy for our fans and I’m happy for the school. To be 5-0, it’s where we wanted to be on the schedule. Not a lot of people thought that we would be 5-0, but the fact of the matter is these kids are playing hard. Winning is contagious and they’re starting to feed off that. It’s a good feeling.”

GSW sophomore forward Jamari Dean gets an offensive rebound and goes up to score. Dean scored 20 points in the win over FVSU.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Four other Hurricanes scored in double figures. Jamari Dean scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Devon Higgs posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds and Jalen Cameron scored 11 points, while dishing out three assists and tallying four steals.

The Hurricanes also got it done on the defensive end. They were able to score 25 points off 22 turnovers committed by the Wildcats. GSW also scored 22 fast-break points and outscored FVSU 34-22 in points in the paint.

The Hurricanes jumped out to an early 11-4 lead, capped off with a three-pointer by Thomas. The Wildcats responded by going on an 8-5 run, cutting the Hurricanes’ lead to five. However, GSW responded with an 8-0 run, which included two more three-pointers by Thomas. By the 11:37 mark of the first half, GSW led 25-12.

The Hurricanes continued to maintain their double-digit lead as Thomas buried another three-pointer to give GSW a 36-23 lead with 3:32 to go before halftime.

About 30 seconds later, Thomas nailed another three-pointer to increase the GSW lead to 41-25.

The Wildcats got a steal and a basket from K’Viontae Williams, but the Hurricanes countered with a basket by Dean to give GSW a 43-27 lead.

GSW junior guard Keshawn Gibbs (4) scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the Hurricanes’ 89-62 victory over Fort Valley State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Thomas then showed that he not only could shoot the ball, but pass it as well. He drove to the basket and kicked the ball out to Kahlon Whitley in the right corner, who promptly nailed a three-pointer. This was part of an 8-4 run by GSW to close out the first half. By halftime, the Hurricanes had a commanding 49-29 lead.

In the first half alone, Thomas knocked down six three-pointers and scored 21 points. The Hurricanes made 9 of 16 three-pointers in the first half (56.3 percent) and shot 17 for 31 from the field (54.8 percent). On the other hand, the Wildcats struggled to score in the first half. They shot 13 for 29 from the field (44.8 percent) and could only make 2 of 12 three-point attempts.

During the first four minutes of the second half, the Hurricanes were able to take a 54-33 lead, thanks to another three-pointer by Thomas. Shortly thereafter, Thomas scored again on a layup and the Hurricanes had a 56-35 lead. However, he still wasn’t done. The Kansas City, MO native nailed another three-pointer to increase the Hurricanes’ lead to 61-35.

At this point of the game, the Hurricanes were in total control. They were ahead 64-41 at the 12:06 mark before they got a steal and a basket from Cameron. By the 10:37 mark when timeout was called, GSW led 66-43.

For the remainder of the game, the Hurricanes were able to maintain their lead of 20 points or more as the Wildcats continued to struggle against the GSW defense.

With less than seven minutes to go, GSW went to a full-court press and created turnovers, which led to points. By the 6:30 mark of the second half, GSW led 78-49.

FVSU was not able to make a serious run to get back in the game. As a result, the Hurricanes won comfortably by the score of 89-62.

Shawn Foxbrennen led FVSU in scoring with 18 points.

Up next for the Hurricanes is a rematch against Albany State in Albany, GA on Thursday, December 5. The last time these two teams met, GSW won 75-66 in the Storm Dome on Monday, November 18. Tip off for Thursday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.