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Robinson, Purdie carry men's basketball in second half of victory over Georgia SW

Robinson, Purdie carry men's basketball in second half of victory over Georgia SW

GREENWOOD – Sidney Robinson and Rahu Purdie each hit four 3-pointers during a 32-16 Lander run in the second half as the Bearcats came from behind to beat Peach Belt Conference rival Georgia Southwestern State University 92-79 Monday night at Horne Arena.

Lander, which made 13 of 23 shots from 3-point range (56 percent), improved to 10-14 overall and 6-12 in the Peach Belt.

The Hurricanes fell to 12-10, 8-10 in the PBC.

The Bearcats have won three of their last four games as they fight to finish in the top eight in the league standings and qualify for the conference tournament. Lander is in a ninth place tie with Columbus State and Young Harris, whom Lander hosts in a makeup game at home Thursday night.

"We're seeing a maturity in our kids," said head coach steve Roberts. "Obviously, Sidney played well, but we were 15-of-17 from the free-throw line, our turnovers were better and we had 13 assists. We like playing at home, it helps guys and we're looking forward to doing it again on Thursday."

The 32-16 Bearcats run turned a 53-50 deficit into a late 82-69 lead.

Robinson led all scorers with 28 points. The freshman guard made 10 of 15 shots from the floor, including six of eight from behind the arc. He scored 11 consecutive Bearcat points during a key stretch of the second half.

Purdie added 19 points, making seven of 10 shots including five of seven from 3-point range.

Sergio Smith contributed 15 points for Lander, hitting five of seven from the floor and all five from the line where the Bearcats were 15 of 17.

Nicklas Jonsson added 10 points while leading Lander with seven assists and three blocked shots.

Srdjan Ivic paced the Bearcats with 11 rebounds, helping the hosts have a huge 40-21 edge on the boards.

Georgia Southwestern started the game red hot from behind the arc as Andre Statham made his first five shots from the floor, including three from behind the arc. He finished with 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.

R.J. Sessions added 20 points for the Hurricanes while Dajion Macklien contributed 12 points. John Mason added 10 points while leading Georgia Southwestern with six boards.

Lander fell behind early, 5-0 and 10-5. The Bearcats pulled within a possession several times, including DeShundre Rucker's dunk off an interior pass from Ivic that pulled them within 10-7 and Robinson's 3 that cut the deficit to 20-18 at 11:29.

Robinson's jumper a couple steps to the right of the free-throw line pulled Lander within 23-22 with 7:55 to go. But Sessions nailed Georgia Southwestern's seventh 3-pointer of the game, keeping the visitors out front 31-25 at 5:51.

The Bearcats closed the first half on a 7-0 run over the final 1:24 to take a 38-36 lead at the break. Jordan Dingle drove from behind the arc to the basket for a layup, Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and found Purdie open in the right corner for a 3, and after an Ivic blocked shot Lander took its first lead of the game on Smith's short jumper with 30 seconds to go.

Sessions scored on three consecutive possessions to start the second half, including a 3-pointer that gave the Hurricanes a 43-38 lead. Dingle knotted the game at 43 with a three-point play at 17:07.

Georgia Southwestern went back out in front, but Purdie's 3 from the left side tied it at 53 and then Robinson got hot. The freshman hit a pair of 3s giving Lander leads of 56-55 and 59-58 at the midway point of the second half.

Robinson swished another 3 from the top of the key, pushing the Bearcat lead to 62-58 at 9:16. The guard made it four 3s in a row with a bank shot in front of the Lander bench to make it 65-58 with 8:32 to go.

Robinson made it 11 consecutive Bearcat points when he drove inside and nailed a floater for a 67-60 advantage at 7:32. Purdie got back into the 3-point party when he nailed a long shot several steps behind the arc to make it 70-62 with 6:40 left.

Jonsson's 3 from the left wing upped Lander's lead to 73-66 with 4:53 to go. But Macklien answered with a 3 of his own for the Hurricanes.

The Bearcats continued to score three points at a time. Smith converted a three-point play and Purdie made two 3s in a row, giving Lander its largest lead of the game at 82-69 with 2:44 left.

Then it was Macklien's turn. His three-point play and 3-pointer quickly cut Georgia Southwestern's deficit to 82-75 at the 2:06 mark.

But Smith's two free throws pushed Lander's lead back to eight. Robinson added two free throws, Smith scored, and Ivic and Jonsson hit two more apiece from the stripe to clinch victory.