SAVANNAH, Ga. – A 26-day layoff didn't seem to affect the Georgia College men's basketball team (6-2) Thursday, as the Bobcats opened the Hampton Inn & Suites Holiday Classic with an 89-80 win over Barton College (6-4). Senior forward Reece Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) exploded for a career-high 28 points in the win.
Wiedeman hit 12-of-20 from the floor, adding eight boards to lead five double-digit scorers for GC. His previous career-high was 25 points against Carver Bible College in the 2009-10 season.
Junior Ryan Aquino (Roswell, Ga.) charted his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 15 boards. Classmate Jared Holmes (Indianapolis) added 17 points, while sophomores Ryan Legates (Marietta, Ga.) and Nate Hamilton (Snellville, Ga.) had 11 points apiece. Legates also had a game-high eight assists.
The Bobcats out-rebounded Barton 45-33 with a 19-10 lead on the offensive glass. Senior Josh Hurst (Athens, Ga.) joined Aquino in double-digit rebounds with 11.
GC got 23 big points from the free-throw line, led by five from Holmes. All but one of the eight players who saw time tonight reached the scoring column via free throws.
The Bobcats trailed for the first 17:18 of the game, taking the lead for the first time at 30-29 on a Wiedeman free throw. GC nabbed the lead for good on a Holmes lay-in 30 seconds later, and never surrendered the advantage. Twice the Bulldogs cut the lead to one in the second half, but could never get over the hump to tie or take the lead.
Leading Barton with 25 points was Gerald Boston. L.J. Dunn and Jaren Haley added 12 points apiece, with Jarrett Jernigan posting 11 points off the bench.
Tonight was the first meeting between the Bobcats and Bulldogs since Barton knocked GC out of the 2009 NCAA Tournament in Augusta, Ga. with an 80-78 first round defeat. Dunn had 21 points in that game, including a jumper with three seconds left to seal the win. Tonight's win evens up the all-time series at 1-1.
The Bobcats are back in action in the tournament against St. Augustine's College (1-5) tomorrow, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. The Falcons played host Armstrong Atlantic tonight.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats andwww.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.