GSW suffers triple overtime loss to Lander on Senior Night

Published 3:06 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – The Georgia Southwestern men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking 115-105 triple overtime loss to Lander University (LU) Saturday on Senior Night at the Storm Dome.

Before the game, four GSW seniors, Jamari Dean, Devon Higgs, Brian Tolefree and Jalen Cameron, we’re honored for their accomplishments as Hurricanes.

Jordan Johnson had his best game of the season, scoring 24 points and shooting 58 percent from the field. Johnson also made three out of five shots from three-point range and grabbed six rebounds. Reggie Raynor recorded his second double double of the season by scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards.

Seniors Brian Tolefree and Jamari Dean turned in strong performances in their last regular season game as Hurricanes. Tolefree scored 15 points and Dean poured in 12.

GSW sophomore guard Jordan Johnson scored 24 points on 58 percent shooting from the field in the Hurricanes’ triple overtime loss to Lander University.
Photo by GSW Athletics

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 9-0 lead early, but the Bearcats responded with 24-6 run to take a 24-15 lead before Johnson scored on a layup for GSW. Shortly thereafter, the Bearcats went up 31-17 on a dunk by Jared Sheffield, but the Hurricanes had a response. They went on a 12-2 run and capped it off with a jumper from Johnson with 5:24 left in the first half.

Over the final five minutes of the half, both teams traded baskets and the Hurricanes only trailed 45-42 at halftime.

Over the first eight minutes of the second half, the Hurricanes stayed right with the Bearcats and regained the lead at 56-55 when Jordan Clark scored on a layup with 12:29 to go in regulation. From that point until the 2:48 mark, the Hurricanes were in control of the game. They outscored LU 23-13 and it looked as if they were going to send their four seniors out with a victory.

However, LU’s Jaylon Pugh drilled a three -pointer and that was the beginning of an 11-0 run by the Bearcats, as they tied the game at 79-79 on a free throw from Jacob Cooper with 12 seconds left in regulation. Neither team could score a winning basket over the final 12 seconds and the game would go into its first overtime.

During the first two and a half minutes of the first overtime period, GSW went on an 8-2 run and capped it off with a dunk by Jerroda Briscoe. However, the Bearcats responded by scoring six unanswered points and tied the score at 87-87 on a made free throw by Tommy Moore with 1:30 to play. Jamari Dean gave the Hurricanes the lead with 45 seconds to go on two made free throws, but with eight seconds left, Ajang Aguek tied the game at 89-89 on a layup. GSW had a chance to win the game right at the end with one second left, but Jordan Clark’s layup attempt was missed and the game went into its second overtime period, tied at 89-89.

Over the first two and a half minutes of the second overtime, both teams traded baskets and the score was tied at 93-93. Both teams continued to trade baskets until Jordan Johnson made two foul shots with 55 seconds left to give the Hurricanes a 99-97 lead.

The Hurricanes were able to hold on to their two-point lead for the next 54 seconds and it looked as if they were going to escape with a hard-earned victory on Senior Night, but with 1.3 seconds left, the Bearcats had the ball with a chance to tie the game. Due to a defensive lapse on the part of the Hurricanes on LU’s in-bounds play, Jaylon Pugh was able to get wide open and scored the tying layup, sending the game into its third overtime, tied at 99-99. That defensive lapse by GSW would end up proving to be costly.

GSW senior guard Brian Tolefree scored 15 points for the Hurricanes in the triple overtime loss to Lander on Senior Night.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In the third overtime period, the Bearcats took over. Pugh hit a three-pointer with 4:26 remaining and that was the beginning of a 6-2 run by LU before the Bearcats got a three-pointer from Sebastian Augustave with 1:51 to go to give LU a 108-101 lead. From this point on, there was no way back for GSW, as the Bearcats outscored the Hurricanes 7-4 to secure a 115-105 triple overtime victory.

The Hurricanes shot 85 percent from the foul line (34-40) and they forced 10 turnovers that led to 13 points. They also had the rebounding advantage in this game (49-43). However, GSW’s inability to execute down the stretch in the closing minutes of regulation and in the first two overtime sessions proved to be costly in the loss.

GSW falls to 12-13 on the season and is in seventh place at 5-11 in the peach Belt Conference (PBC) standings. LU improves to 19-7 overall and the Bearcats are in fourth place in the PBC standings.

GSW will host the last home game of the season, as the Hurricanes take on Clayton State (3-23, 1-15) for the second half of their two-game season series. The Hurricanes won the last meeting defeating CSU 75-71 at the Mason Barfield Court on Wednesday, February 1. The teams will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22.