MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Senior forward Ryan Aquino (Roswell, Ga.) put up a career-high 28 points including four threes but it wasn't enough, as Georgia College men's basketball (13-8, 6-6 PBC) fell 62-55 Tuesday to Clayton State University (14-7, 6-6 PBC) in the Centennial Center.
The senior forward did nearly equal damage in both halves, scoring 15 points in the first, leaving another 13 points for the second stanza. He was 9-of-20 from the floor, including 4-for-10 from three-point range. He also knocked down 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. He tallied 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double effort of the year.
The game was like a heavyweight prizefight down the stretch, each team hitting big shots back and forth. As the teams traded blows, GC found itself down 56-53 heading into the final two minutes. Two great defensive stops, a shot clock violation followed by a steal, helped set up an Aquino lay-in at the 1:20 mark cutting the lead to one.
On the ensuing possession, the Bobcats once again got a solid defensive effort, as Clayton's Tony Dukes was forced into a highly-contested lay-up attempt. Laker forward Juron Dobbs elevated for the tip-in dunk to shift the momentum greatly in Clayton's favor with just 45 seconds left. A missed shot then came on the offensive end for GC, and the Lakers closed the game out with 6-0 run to get the 62-55 final.
The Bobcats were out-shot 51 percent (23-45) to 39 percent (20-52) from the floor, and while the battle on the glass was even at 29-29, GC got some extra chances with an 11-8 advantage in offensive rebounds and 13-11 lead in turnovers caused.
Aquino was GC's lone double-digit scorer tonight, with eight points coming from Jared Holmes (Indianapolis). Clayton State was led by 19 points from Tony Dukes.
With his 10 rebounds, Aquino passes J.J. Madden (1992-96) into third place all-time in the GC recordbooks. Aquino has 680 career caroms, behind Aaron Clark (2004-08) at 847 and GC Athletic Hall of Famer Leonard Scott (1975-79) at 868.
The loss slips GC into a tie with the Lakers for third in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) West Division, as the top four teams advance to the PBC Tournament March 1-4 in Columbus, Ga.
The Bobcats look to get back to their winning ways Saturday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. for the school's annual Homecoming Game against Columbus State University.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time 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/BobcatSports and www.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.