GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Powered by 14 points off the bench from junior guard Jake Rios (Bozeman, Mt.), and the first double-double of sophomore forward Josh Hurst's (Athens, Ga.) career, the Georgia College & State University men's basketball team (2-0) dropped Carson-Newman College (2-3) 89-83 in day one of the Jameson Inn Classic, hosted by Tusculum College.
The Bobcats shot better than 50 percent from the floor (36-70) and hit 59 percent in the second half (16-27). GCSU took over the lead for the first time at 2-1 with 18:32 left in the first half on a Hurst fast break lay-up, and never surrendered the advantage.
The Bobcats had five scorers in double-figures, led by Rios' 14 and Hurst's 12-point, 10-rebound effort. Senior guard Shaun Keaton (Albany, Ga.) made up for an 0-for-3 night from behind the arc with a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and 12 points. Classmate Justin Brown (New Orleans) also had 12 off the bench, while junior guard Graham Martin (Marietta, Ga.) added 11.
The Bobcats busted open a tight game in the first half, going on a 14-2 run beginning at the 14:33 mark, capped by a Hurst offensive put-back and a 27-14 score at 9:02 left. Georgia College would stretch the lead to its fullest right before the halftime buzzer, when sophomore Andre Mikell (Snellville, Ga.) dropped a jumper for a 49-34 halftime edge.
The Eagles cut it to a two-point lead at 55-53 with 14:36 left in the second stanza, thanks to a Jordan Dixon three-pointer, but could get no closer. The Bobcats responded immediately with a 12-2 run that put the game out of reach again.
Georgia College distributed the ball well with 24 team assists, led by junior point guard Ty Rowland (Lilburn, Ga.) at six.
CNC guard Dixon was held to just 2-for-11 from the floor, but hit 11 of his 12 free-throw tries and finished with a game-high 17 points and eight assists. He was aided by 13 points apiece from Joey Cameron and Darron Maxtion.
The Bobcat win marks the first in program history over the Eagles, evening out the all-time series at 1-1. The Bobcats also start the season off 2-0 for the third straight year.
Georgia College wraps up the tournament tomorrow, Nov. 29 against the host Pioneers at 4 p.m. Tusculum (3-1) beat the University of West Alabama 58-57 earlier tonight.
Live audio will be provided as always through the home team stations, Country 102FM and 1450AM or on the web at www.country102fm.com. Tusculum will also have live web video available on their site at www.TusculumPioneers.com.
The GCSU Department of Athletics sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Follow the Bobcats and their positive impact on the Milledgeville community at www.gcsu.edu/bobcats.