COLUMBUS, Ga. - Junior point guard Andre Mikell (Snellville, Ga.) may be the shortest man on the Georgia College & State University men's basketball (12-2, 5-0 PBC) roster at 5-foot-9, but he is big man on campus tonight, downing Columbus State University (8-7, 2-4 PBC) 63-61 by draining a highly-contested 23-footer at the buzzer.
Down one with 3.7 seconds remaining, Mikell took the ball off the in-bound, and got across halfcourt where he was promptly double-teamed. The junior guard elevated, had to double-clutch but still hit nothing but the bottom of the net on his buzzer-beating 23-footer. He finished with 13 points, but none more important than the final three.
Georgia College battled in an uncharacteristically low shooting effort, when a team that averages 48 percent was able to knock down just 38 percent (24-63) of shots tonight. Columbus State is stereotypically stingy on the defensive end, where opponents came into tonight averaging 39 percent shooting.
Sophomore forward Ryan Aquino (Roswell, Ga.) recorded a personal-best 19 points on the night, hitting 8-for-13 from the floor while grabbing 12 rebounds for a double-double, the first of his career. Senior guard Jake Rios (Bozeman, Mt.) added 13 points to the evening's effort.
Columbus State was led by Donta Ridley's 10 points, the lone double-digit scorer. Four others managed to score nine each.
CSU's Lamar Williams hit a big three-pointer with 41 seconds left, giving the Cougars a 60-58 lead. The Bobcats ran the clock down and Aquino rattled home a put-back with nine seconds left to knot the score. Williams was fouled on CSU's next possession, made one of two, setting up the one point Cougar lead with 3.7 left and Mikell's heroics.
The ‘Cats nearly didn't get that close, as they found themselves down by 11 at the half, 39-28. Georgia College fired out of the intermission on a 20-6 run over the first 11 minutes, capped by a Mikell three for a 48-45 lead with 9:01 left. The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the game, neither team garnering more than a four-point advantage.
The Bobcats are back in action Saturday, Jan. 23 at 4:30 p.m. traveling to No. 18 University of Montevallo.
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, 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. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.