LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: GSW golf finishes 8th in second spring tourney; ASU men's hoops win conference tourney opener; Darton cross country honored by region

Head coach Andrew Danna and the GSW men's golf team fell flat in just their second tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in Division II

Head coach Andrew Danna and the GSW men's golf team fell flat in just their second tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in Division II

NEW ORLEANS — There wasn’t much that was easy about Georgia Southwestern’s trip to the “The Big Easy.”

The GSW men’s golf team came back from its tournament in New Orleans on Tuesday licking its wounds after an eighth-place finish that knocked the Hurricanes out of the No. 1 spot in Golfstat’s national poll.

The Hurricanes fell all the way to No. 13 after shooting a 42-over in the two-day University of New Orleans Mardi Gras Invitational that included some of the top teams in the nation.

“My guys played well in New Orleans, but we just didn’t manage to put a couple good team rounds together,” said GSW coach Andrew Danna, whose Hurricanes still managed to rise all the way to No. 5 in the Nike Golf Division II Coaches Poll on Wednesday. “We’re just going to learn from our mistakes and try and keep putting ourselves in contention to win.”

It was a star-studded tournament that included No. 1 Lynn, No. 6 Nova Southeastern, No. 7 Abilene Christian, No. 8 West Florida, No. 11 North Alabama and No. 25 Florida Southern. The Hurricanes finished behind all of the ranked teams, including North Alabama, which finished 16-over to win the 15-team tournament.

Former Lee County star and Herald Player of the Year Nate Gahman shot the team-low on the final day at the par-72, 6,930-yard TPC Louisiana course with a 72. Gahman tied teammate J.P. Griffin for 20th place overall in the 77-player field with a three-round total of 224 (8-over). Craig Gibson finished two strokes and nine places behind Gahman and Griffin with

his 10-over 226. Christopher Hall shaved five strokes off his second-round score to end with a 237, which was good for 54th place. Patrick Hall tied for 60th with a total of 240.

The Hurricanes return to tournament play on Mar. 12 at the Southeastern Collegiate tournament in Valdosta.

DARTON CROSS COUNTRY HONORED: The NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association announced Darton College’s men’s and women’s cross country programs as academic All-America teams, and awarded eight cross-country student-athletes with individual academic honors.

The men’s program finished ninth nationally with its 3.62 grade-point average, while the women’s program earned a No. 11 ranking with its 3.498 GPA.

Four members of the women’s team – all of them freshmen - received individual Academic All-America honors: Vanessa Pina, of Leesburg, Hayden Clapper, of Oviedo, Fla., Lacey Webb, of Moultrie, and Taylor Hall, of Guyton.

Four runners on the men’s side - also freshmen - received such honors as well: William “Hank” Campbell, of Guyton, Nick Mascardo, of Pensacola, Mackenzie Marcelin, of Stockbridge, and Ryan Judson, of Bonaire.

ASU HOOPS WIN CONFERENCE TOURNY OPENER VS. KSU: The Albany State men’s basketball team pulled a mild upset Wednesday in the first round of the conference tournament in Atlanta as the No. 10-seeded Rams knocked off No. 7 seed Kentucky State, 63-60, after coming from behind and holding the Thorobreds scoreless for nearly three minutes late in the fourth quarter.

ASU will now face No. 2 seed LeMoyne-Owen, which swept the Rams during the regular season, in today’s quarterfinals at 4 p.m.

“Defense definitely carried us down the stretch,” ASU coach Chris Cameron said. “We were down seven with four minutes to go and we hit some shots to get back in it and held them scoreless.”

Rachard Lofton led the Rams with 16 points, but ASU may be without two key members today after Jaren Harris and Justin Wilcox were both injured in the first half.

“LeMoyne-Owen is beatable, but it sure would help if we had those two guys,” Cameron said. “I’m not sure if either can go (today).”