MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Despite 22 first-half points from senior guard Jake Rios (Bozeman, Mt.) and an 11-point halftime lead, the Georgia College & State University men's basketball team (2-0) needed to scratch and claw in the waning seconds to pick up an 80-76 win over the University of West Georgia (1-2) at the Centennial Center.
Cold second-half shooting by Georgia College allowed the Wolves to erase a 12-point lead, taking over on a Vojin Svilar three-pointer with 1:52 left 76-74. A pair of Robert Thomas (Mankato, Minn.) free-throws tied the game at 76 with 1:33 remaining, then the Bobcats caused turnovers in two consecutive possessions, scoring both times as a result for the 80-76 win. Senior guard Graham Martin (Marietta, Ga.) made a jump-stop shot in the paint with 40 seconds left after picking Justin Cummings' pocket on the other end, to give the ‘Cats the lead for good.
It was all Rios in the first half, knocking down six threes and pouring in 22 points, a Bobcat career-high for the senior guard, bettering his 17-point effort against Lander University last season. He finished with 24. Junior forward Reece Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) turned in a strong effort with 14 points and eight boards, adding a pair of blocks. Martin finished with 13 points and four steals, including two in the last minute of play.
Georgia College caused 15 turnovers while committing just seven. The ‘Cats shot 50 percent (17-34) in the first half, cooling off to 44 percent (30-68) for the game. The Wolves went in the opposite direction, knocking down 67 percent (14-21) of second-half shots while hitting 28-of-51 (55 percent) overall.
The Bobcats doubled-up West Georgia on the offensive glass 18-6, resulting in 17 second-chance points.
The Wolves had two 20-point scorers, getting a double-double from John Pringle at 20 points and 11 boards. Justin Cummings came off the pine for 21 points.
The Bobcats start the season 2-0 for the fourth-straight year. In 2008-09, they started the year at 4-0 before falling at eventual Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Champion Augusta State University.
The Bobcats are back in action Friday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Dick Campbell Memorial Classic against host Carson-Newman College. Georgia College returns home Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. against Carver Bible College.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.