MONTEVALLO, Ala. - A second-half surge powered by great defense and a point explosion from Graham Martin (Marietta, Ga.) gave Georgia College & State University men's basketball (13-2, 6-0 PBC) a 61-52 win tonight at No. 18 University of Montevallo (15-2, 5-2 PBC).
Georgia College now starts the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) season at 6-0 for the first time since 1999-2000 the Elite Eight Bobcat team, arguably the best in program history. That year, Georgia College started 8-0 and finished 13-3, taking the PBC regular-season title.
The seventh win in a row for Georgia College, tonight's victory was the second over a nationally-ranked opponent after beating No. 19 Tusculum College in December.
Martin had 23 of his season-best 25 points as part of the second-half surge, as the Bobcats found themselves down seven (34-27) at the half. GCSU held the Falcons to just 25 percent shooting in the second half, on 5-of-20 from the floor, including 0-for-6 from long range to take the game back.
"I'm extremely proud of this team right now," said head coach Terry Sellers. "They have the road warrior mentality, they believe in each other, and they believe they can win just about anywhere."
Senior guard Jake Rios (Bozeman, Mt.) was the only other double-digit scorer with 10, despite hitting just one three-pointer. Martin hit nearly half of his shots from the floor at 7-of-15, but made a big 9-of-10 free throw attempts.
Junior forward Josh Hurst (Athens, Ga.) cleaned the glass to the tune of 10 crucial rebounds, adding seven points. Frontcourt mate Ryan Aquino (Roswell, Ga.) added seven points and seven caroms, while point guard Ty Rowland (Lilburn, Ga.) generalled the offense with five assists.
The Bobcats had a couple of leads in the first five minutes of the contest, but Montevallo took over seemingly for good with 14:18 left in the first. The next time Georgia College had the advantage came in the second half with 5:41 left on a jumper by Martin. The ‘Cats wouldn't relinquish the lead after that point.
Freddy Little paced the Falcons with 14 points, Mark Plaza adding 11 to go with seven boards and five assists. Cecil Coleman narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
With the 25 points tonight, Martin surpassed Stan Lynn (1988-09) into 13th in all-time scoring at Georgia College. Martin has 1,109 points, just three behind No. 12 Larry Anderson (1971-75). Martin's three steals tonight give him 111 in his four seasons, passing Tony Edmonson (1993-97) into ninth all-time, and eight behind a tie for seventh.
Tonight's contest was a bit of a homecoming for Sellers, who spent five years as an assistant coach at Montevallo.
The Bobcats are back in action Monday, Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. traveling to Flagler College. Catch the action on Country 102.3FM WKZR in Milledgeville or on the web at www.Country102FM.com .
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.