Season-low shooting night dooms Hurricanes against Columbus State

Published 2:57 am Thursday, January 26, 2023

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From Staff Reports

AMERICUS – The Georgia Southwestern State University men’s basketball team (GSW) shot a season-low 37.7 percent, hitting only 23 of 61 shots from the field in a 74-55 loss to Columbus State (CSU) on Wednesday, January 25 at the Storm Dome.

The loss drops the Hurricanes to 9-9 overall on the season and they are now 2-7 in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC).

After the game, GSW Head Coach Aaron Coombs eluded that the Hurricanes’ poor shooting wasn’t the only thing that disturbed him about his club’s performance.

“Columbus State did a great job. They just came in and just whipped us in everything that mattered in the game of basketball,” Coombs said. “There’s nothing else to say. They came into our gym for the third year in a row and just plunked us, so you know, I’m disappointed that my team played that soft. I mean, it’s getting to the point to where it’s really frustrating, but credit to Columbus State. They played well tonight. We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to prepare for Young Harris,” Coombs continued.

GSW sophomore guard Jordan Johnson scored 12 points in the Hurricanes’ loss to Columbus State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

GSW had three players score in double figures. Devon Higgs led the Hurricanes in scoring with 18 points and he almost turned in a double-double, as he pulled down nine rebounds. Higgs also had five blocks and three steals on the night. Reggie Raynor was also in double figures with 12 points and had eight rebounds and Jordan Johnson poured in 12 points and tallied four steals.

With a little over two minutes left in the first half, the score was tied at 28-28 before the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to close out the first half. The second half totally belonged to CSU, as the Cougars went on a 10-4 run over the first five minutes before Jordan Johnson scored on a layup for the Hurricanes to cut their deficit to 12 at 46-34.

Over the next three minutes, there wasn’t a lot of scoring from either team, but at the 12:41 mark, GSW guard Jack McErlean drilled a three-pointer to bring the Hurricanes within nine at 48-39.
However, shortly thereafter, Daniel Melvin drained a three-pointer to put the Cougars back up by 12 at 51-39. About two minutes later, the Hurricanes were able to trim their deficit down to eight at 51-43 when Reggie Raynor scored on a layup and got to within eight at 54-46 a minute later when Raynor drilled a three-pointer.

However, that eight point deficit would be as close as the Hurricanes would get the rest of the way, as the Cougars outscored GSW 20-9 over the final nine minutes to earn a 74-55 victory.

The Hurricanes struggled tremendously from beyond the arc, as they only made 6 of 29 three-pointers on the night and only made two in the second half. In contrast, the Cougars went 9-23 from the three-point line for the game and made 6-12 of those three-point attempts in the second half.

GSW sophomore forward Reggie Raynor is seen here about to shoot free throws. Raynor scored 12 points and hauled down eight rebounds in the Hurricanes’ 74-55 loss to Columbus State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Hurricanes were also out worked on the boards, as the Cougars out rebounded GSW 44-37. CSU also out performed the Hurricanes in bench scoring (28-17), fast break points (19-12) and second chance points (10-5). The Hurricanes out performed the Cougars in the Points off Turnovers category (23-15), but committed 18 turnovers themselves.

GSW also struggled to get to the foul line in this game. The Hurricanes made three of six foul shots, while CSU made 9-18 free throws.

While the Hurricanes did have their poorest shooting night of the season, the Cougars weren’t that much better in this contest, as they made 28 of 62 shots (45.2 percent).

Five Cougars scored in double figures. Marcellious Lockett led CSU in scoring with 12 points and both Kalen Clifton and Daniel Melvin each scored 11. Both Demierre Black and Jehloni James each contributed 10 points for the Cougars in the winning cause.

The Hurricanes (9-9, 2-7 PBC) will try to rebound from this loss when they host another tough PBC opponent, the Mountain Lions of Young Harris College, on Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m.