GREENWOOD – The Lander men's basketball team got 16 second-half points and a double-double from Marquel Wiggins as the Bearcats earned their first Peach Belt Conference win of the season 82-74 over Georgia College Tuesday night at Horne Arena.
Lander improved to 2-6 overall, 1-1 in the PBC. The Bobcats fell to 4-4, 0-3.
Wiggins had only three points in the first half but came alive after halftime to finish with a game-high 19 points and 13 rebounds. Eleven of his boards were on the defensive end as his 13 rebounds were a career-high.
Kohl Roberts paced Georgia College with 18 points, Jordan Thomas added 11 points and Chapin Rierson contributed 10 points. Isaac Thomas paced the Bobcats with nine rebounds while Desmond Mitchell-LaFlam led them with five assists.
Lander tied the game at 10 with 14:47 left in the first half when Rucker drove the lane and threw down a one-handed dunk in traffic. Rucker passed his season-high at the 7:31 mark when his turn-around hook shot gave the Bearcats a 21-17 lead.
Codrin Cobzaru's up-and-under driving layup pushed Lander's advantage to 29-22 with four minutes to go.
Purdie's tough, under-handed layup with 43 seconds left and Cobzaru's put-back at the buzzer gave the Bearcats their first double-digit lead at 39-29 at halftime.
Georgia College opened the second half with a 19-5 run, taking a 48-44 lead at the 14-minute mark on Chandler Wright's layup.
Lander trailed by five when Wiggins hit a three from the top of the key and then made a floater from the left side to tie the game at 55 just inside the 11-minute mark.
The Bobcats were back up by five, 62-57, on Rierson's three with 9:24 to go.
Wiggins tied the game again at 64 with 5:43 left when he hit a three from the top of the key following Purdie's blocked shot at the other end. Rucker's put-back gave the Bearcats a 66-65 lead with 4:45 to go.
Wiggins made a three from the left corner off an interior bounce pass from Purdie to give Lander a 69-68 advantage at the 4:08 mark.
Morris Robinson Jr. drove the baseline and scored to give Lander the lead for good at 73-71 with 2:43 left. Wiggins, who had only been 2-for-6 from the line so far, made two free throws to extend the Bearcat advantage to 75-71 with 1:14 to go.
Lander's Elijah Alston drew an offensive foul on Georgia College's next possession and then Purdie hit a step-back three as the shot clock was winding down to make it 78-71 with 33 seconds left. Purdie scored the final four Bearcat points from the free-throw line.