2011 Wingate By Wyndham Holiday Classic: Day Two Wrapup
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Shaw University finished the weekend a perfect 2-0 while the host Armstrong Atlantic State University men's basketball team halted a six-game slide on the final day of the 2011 Wingate by Wyndham Holiday Classic on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena. The Pirates ran past Mars Hill, 109-86, while Shaw knocked off Georgia College, 67-63.
In the final game of the day, Armstrong (5-7) opened the contest on an 18-2 run over the first six minutes and maintained a double-digit cushion all the way into halftime, leading 57-43 at the break thanks to shooting 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor.
Mars Hill (3-8) was able to cut the lead to 10 points in the second half, on a three-pointer by Austin Patton with 11:08 remaining, but the Pirates scored the next three baskets - two by senior DeVon Jones - to push the lead to 16 and pull away from the Lions.
"If we didn't get a win today, it would have been a full calendar month since our last win," Armstrong head coach Jeremy Luther said. "We just hadn't responded well since our home loss to Florida Southern. But I'm proud of these kids, I still think they can do some good things. We got some confidence back today and hopefully we can maintain that momentum going to Augusta."
The win was the first for the Pirates since an 111-81 win over Flagler on Dec. 3 and Armstrong shot 53.4 percent from the floor (39-of-73) in claiming the victory, while holding Mars Hill to just 38.6 percent (27-of-70) shooting and only 6-of-21 from three-point range (28.6 percent).
Jones finished the game with his second double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while senior Mychal Horn also notched a double-double with 16 points and a career-high 14 assists. Senior Chris Vanlandingham led the Pirates offensively with 24 points while junior Aric Miller added 17 points.
"I was just looking to get my teammates involved," Horn said. "I think it's something we really need to focus on as a team, making sure that everybody is getting involved in the game."
Mars Hill was led by Sammy Emile's game-high 31 points, to go with nine rebounds. Patton added 16 points and Terrell Harris came off the bench to chip in 13 points for the Lions.
In the day's first game, Shaw's Malik Alvin made three big plays in the final two minutes to secure the four-point win over the Bobcats. With the score tied at 61-all, Shaw (8-2) took the lead on Latrail McCoy's basket with 2:18 left in the game.
Alvin then secured a rebound off of a missed shot by Georgia College's Scott Ferguson with 1:49 left, and after a Shaw time out, Alvin came up with a big shot in the lane to push the lead to four, 65-61, with 1:22 left.
Two free throws from Jared Holmes pulled the Bobcats (7-3) back to within two, 65-63, with 46 seconds remaining, but Alvin scored again with 13 seconds left to push the lead back to four and secure the win.
Both teams shot very well from the floor in the contest as Shaw hit 52 percent (26-of-50) while Georgia College hit 51 percent (26-of-51). Shaw placed three players in double figures, led by Junius Chaney's 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor, while Curtis Hines added 19 points off the bench and Alvin finished the game with 15 points.
Georgia College was led by Ryan Aquino's 18 points, while Ferguson finished with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds while Holmes notched 15 points.
Armstrong returns to action on Wednesday, January 4, traveling to Augusta State for a 7:30 p.m. Peach Belt Conference contest against the defending PBC champs in Augusta.