Bearcats pull away from Georgia College as Wiggins scores 16 in second half

Bearcats pull away from Georgia College as Wiggins scores 16 in second half

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.

Rahu Purdie added 18 points while leading the Bearcats with five assists. DeShundre Rucker scored a season-high 17 points for Lander.

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.