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Hurricanes lose overtime heartbreaker to North Georgia

From Staff Reports

 

AMERICUS – With 2:29 to go in regulation, the Georgia Southwestern State University men’s basketball team (GSW) had a 54-47 lead, but the Nighthawks of North Georgia (UNG) outscored the Hurricanes 9-2 the rest of the way to send the game into overtime tied at 56-56. The tying basket came from UNG reserve Zezmon Steeple. The Hurricanes tried to regroup in the overtime period and salvage the win, but the Nighthawks began the extra session by outscoring GSW 8-2 in the first minute and a half. As a result, the Hurricanes were not able to regain the lead or make a comeback and fell to UNG 72-65 on Wednesday evening, January 8, at the Storm Dome.

It was a special night for the faculty and students of Southland Academy, being that it was Southland Academy Night at GSW.

With the loss, the Hurricanes drop to 6-4 overall on the season and 1-3 in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC).

GSW sophomore forward Jamari Dean led the Hurricanes in scoring with 21 points on eight of 15 shooting. Two other Hurricanes were in double figures. Junior guard Jalen Cameron poured in 13 points and senior guard Abdul Dial chipped in 11. Junior point guard Kahlon Whitley almost cracked the double-figure scoring column as he scored nine points.

For most of the first half, it was a back-and-forth affair between both teams, but with three minutes left, the Hurricanes scored eight unanswered points to take a 29-24 lead at halftime.

Up until the 15:53 mark of the second half, both teams were trading baskets and GSW had a 34-28 lead. However, over the next four minutes, the Nighthawks went on a 10-4 run, which was capped off by a three-pointer from Steeple. UNG eventually overtook the Hurricanes at the 7:33 mark on a layup by Carrod Watson.

However, GSW responded almost two minutes later as junior guard Josh Press knocked down a three-pointer to give the Hurricanes a 48-47 lead. This was the beginning of a 9-0 run by GSW. At the 2:29 mark of the second half, Dean completed the run with a layup to give GSW a 54-47 advantage.

However, a three-pointer by UNG’s KJ Jenkins and a free throw by Ephraim Tshimanga brought the Nighthawks to within three. Dean scored on a slam dunk to put GSW up by five with 44 seconds left in regulation, but the Nighthawks responded with five unanswered points, capped off by the three-pointer by Steeple to tie the game with 17 seconds left.

In the overtime period, the Nighthawks simply made more plays than did the Hurricanes and ended up winning 72-65. With the win, UNG improves to 6-7 overall and 1-4 in the PBC. They were led in scoring by Tshimanga with 17 points. Watson was also in double figures with 10 points.

One glaring factor in this game that proved to be key in the outcome was free throw shooting. For the game, the Hurricanes struggled from the foul line, making 12 of 22 free throws (54.5 percent). The Nighthawks, on the other hand, shot much better from the foul line. They made 11 of 16 free throws (68.8 percent).

The Hurricanes will try to rebound from this setback when they travel to St. Augustine, FL to take on the Saints of Flagler College on Saturday, January 11, at 3:30 p.m.