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No. 12 ‘Canes hold off West Florida to stay undefeated

AMERICUS — The Hurricanes aren’t making things easy on opposing teams this season — especially not West Florida.

For the second time in the last two weeks, the Georgia Southwestern men’s basketball team beat West Florida in a close contest that seesawed back and forth.

But just like on Nov. 19 when Phillip Brown rebounded his own missed free throw with .9 seconds left to seal the game, the Hurricanes made the key plays down the stretch on Monday, winning 69-61.

It was the Hurricanes’ third win in the last five days and improved their record to 6-0.

Marlon Rivera led the Hurricanes, who are ranked No. 12 in the National Associated of Basketball Coaches Division II Poll, with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Also scoring in double figures for Georgia Southwestern were Colin Slotter with 17 points and Brown with 10 points.

Rivera knocked down a pair of free throws with 16:02 left in the first half to give the Hurricanes a 7-6 lead — their first of the game. They built that lead up to as many as 11 points in the first half and led 32-25 at halftime.

West Florida (5-3) slowly crept back into the game in the second half and eventually took the lead with just under 10 minutes left, but Hurricane senior Will Kenimer immediately knocked down a 3-pointer to give GSW the lead back.

West Florida never led again, largely because the Hurricanes hit their free throws down the stretch.

GSW opens Peach Belt Conference play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Montevallo (Ala.), which is 6-1 and an honorable mention in the NABC Div. II poll.