Hurricanes fall to Albany State in season opener

Published 1:49 am Friday, November 19, 2021

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – The Georgia Southwestern State University Men’s Basketball Team (GSW) suffered an 80-75 defeat to Albany State (ASU) in its season opener in front of an amped up, raucous crowd at the Storm Dome on Wednesday evening, November 17.

While the Hurricanes only shot 28 percent from beyond the arc, the major difference in the game was rebounding. The Golden Rams outrebounded GSW 48-33 and had a 19-4 advantage over the Hurricanes in second-chance points.

While GSW Head Coach Aaron Coombs gave credit to ASU for earning the win, he was extremely disappointed in his club’s performance, especially on the offensive glass.

“First of all, Coach (Patrick) Gayle did a great job with his team. They out played us,” Coombs said. “Having said that, we won’t win a single game all year if we give up 17 offensive rebounds. All we talked about was rebounding. We didn’t do it. We didn’t do it. I mean, it’s an absolute embarrassment. We should apologize to every single fan. To have this environment and come out here and play like that…it’s embarrassing. I can promise you this: It will never happen again! It will never happen again! It’s an absolute embarrassment by my team. It’s 100 percent my fault because they weren’t ready to play and we will be better.”

GSW senior guard Donte Tatum led the Hurricanes in scoring with 20 points and dished out eight assists. Senior forward Kevin Kone poured in 13 points, senior

Forward Jacorie Archie scored 11 and senior guard Devon Higgs chipped in 10 in the losing cause.

The first half was a back-and forth affair between the two teams, but ASU led 33-32 at the half. However, the Golden Rams went on a 12-6 run over the first three minutes of the second half. That run was capped off by a three-pointer by ASU guard Joshua Jerome. Over the next two and a half minutes, there wasn’t a whole lot of scoring from either team, but the Rams took a 49-41 lead with 14:48 to play on a layup by Kevin Perry.

GSW senior guard Jonathan King scored two points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out one assist in the Hurricanes’ 80-75 loss to Albany State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

GSW quickly cut the ASU lead to five on a three-pointer from Tatum, but the Hurricanes weren’t able to come to within two points until Jacorie Archie scored on a layup with 11:30 to go. This got the crowd into the game and it seemed like the momentum was about to swing in favor of the Hurricanes.

However, the Golden Rams scored seven unanswered points to take a 60-51 lead and over the next several minutes, the closest the Hurricanes could get was five points. Then with 4:30 to go, ASU took a 73-61 lead on two free throws from Malik Parker.

With 1:59 to go in the game, the Hurricanes trailed 76-68, but they were able to make one last push for a come-from-behind victory. They went on a 7-0 run to get to within one at 76-75 with 58 seconds left. Unfortunately, however, that would be as close as GSW would get, as ASU would go on to win 80-75.

GSW senior forward Kevin Kone poses up against an ASU defender. Kone scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss to ASU.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

For the game, GSW shot 44.9 percent from the field and only 28 percent from beyond the arc (7-25). The Hurricanes also struggled from the foul line, as they only made 6 of 11 free throws (54.5 percent). On the other hand, the Golden Rams shot 70 percent from the charity stripe (21-30) and made 38.5 percent of their three-pointers (5-13).

The Hurricanes were successful in using their defensive pressure to force turners and they scored 23 points off those turnovers. However, as Coombs pointed out, they were outworked by the Golden Rams on the boards.

Donte Tatum is on the dribble for the Hurricanes. In addition to his 20 points, Tatum dished out eight assists, grabbed three rebounds and had four steals against Albany State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

ASU had three players score in double figures. Maxwell Harris led all scorers with 24 points. Malik Parker poured in 18 points and Kevin Perry chipped in 15 for the Golden Rams in the winning cause.

GSW will try to rebound from its season-opening setback when the Hurricanes travel up to Dahlonega, GA to take part in the North Georgia Classic hosted by the University of North Georgia. On Friday, November 19, GSW will take on Lee University at 6 p.m. and will face Union University on Saturday, November 20 at 4 p.m.

GSW senior guard Devon Higgs goes up and grabs a defensive rebound. Higgs scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists and had five steals in the Hurricanes’ season-opening loss to Albany State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Then after the Thanksgiving Break, the Hurricanes will head down US Highway 19 to Albany on Wednesday, December 1, for the rematch with the ASU Golden Rams. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.