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Hurricanes lose to Flagler in PBC title game, but earn at-large bid to NCAA Tournament

From Staff Reports

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – The Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) men’s basketball team (13-5) lost to the Saints of Flagler College 73-60 in the championship game of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, but still received an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Hurricanes will play Lee University out of Cleveland, TN in the first round of the tournament on Saturday evening, March 13, at 8:45 p.m. at Valdosta State University.

Early in the PBC title game against FC, the Hurricanes fell behind 5-0 before Baris Ulker put GSW on the board with a jumper at the 15:49 mark of the first half.

However, over the next four minutes, the Saints went on a 10-2 run before Ulker hit two free throws, cutting the GSW deficit to 15-6 with 11:09 to go before halftime.

However, the Hurricanes responded with a 13-4 run of their own to tie the game at 19-19.

Both teams traded baskets over the remaining six minutes, but the Hurricanes were still within striking distance as they only trailed 32-26 at the half.

However, the Saints went on another 5-0 run to start the second half before Whitely hit a jump shot, making the score 37-28 in favor of FC with 18:34 left to play.

Over the next two minutes, both teams traded baskets, but the Saints took their largest lead of the game at 43-30 when Jaizec Lottie scored on a layup at the 15:22 mark.

GSW would not quit though as the Hurricanes were able to go on a 12-4 run and cut their deficit to 47-42 on a layup from Jarrett Adderton with 10:24 to go.

The Saints continued to maintain the lead over the next six minutes, but Ulker was able to bring GSW to within five again at 63-58 with two made free throws with 4:27 left to play.

However, that would be as close as the Hurricanes would get. FC went on a

10-2 run over the remaining 4:27 to seal the 73-60 victory and claim the PBC title.

Three Hurricanes scored in double figures. Ulker, who came off the bench, led GSW in scoring with 17 points and he pulled down a total of five rebounds. Donte Tatum scored 14 points on 5 of 13 shooting and went a perfect 4 for 4 from the foul line. Adderton was the third Hurricane in double figures with 13 points on 4 of 9 shooting and was also a perfect 4 for 4 from the free throw line.

As a team, the Hurricanes shot 41.7 percent from the field and shot 94.7 percent from the free throw line. However, GSW struggled shooting from beyond the arc (14.3 percent).

Jaizec Lottie led all scorers with 31 points for the Saints and went 5 for 8 from three-point land. FC guard Derrick Ellis scored in double figures with 18 points and Chris Metzger poured in 12 points for the Saints in the winning cause.

The Hurricanes will now prepare for their first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament: the Flames of Lee University (14-5), out of the Gulf South Conference (GSC). GSW will face off with the Flames on Saturday, March 13, at Valdosta State University at 8:45 p.m. Should the Hurricanes prevail in the first round, they will take on the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the second round.

Flagler, who is the #1 seed in the region, got a first round bye and will play the winner between Valdosta State and the University of West Georgia.

Should the Saints win their second round game and the Hurricanes win both their first and second round games, both GSW and FC will face each other in the Sweet 16.