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Albany State men pick up win No. 3; Lady Rams fall

Former Bainbridge star Thomas named Player of the Week in conference

ALBANY — Albany State sophomore and Bainbridge grad April Thomas was named the Women’s Player of the Week in ASU’s conference on Monday after leading the Lady Rams to a 2-1 record in a trio of confernece games last week.

Thomas, a 5-foot-11 guard, averaged 25.7 points in games against LeMoyne-Owen, Lane and Benedict and scored a season-high 31 points in the Jan. 14 win against LeMoyne-Owen.

Former Worth County star Jerome Hamilton was also honored by the conference as an honorable mention for Player of the Week after averaging 13.7 points and eight rebounds in three games for the Golden Rams.

ALBANY — Chris Cameron is starting to see the Golden Rams team he always knew was there.

They showed up with a vengeance on Monday.

Behind big games from guards Justin Wilcox and Jaren Harris, Albany State won for the second time in the past three games with a 69-64 victory against Paine College.

ASU (3-11 overall, 2-5 conference) took care of a Paine team near the top of the East Division standings with tough defense, holding Paine to just one 3-pointer all night.

“We came out and guarded,” Cameron said. “This is probably just the second time we have played Albany State basketball the entire game.”

Wilcox, a former Albany Tech star, led the way with 24 points, while Harris added 17.

“Justin and Jaren stepped up and played well,” Cameron said. “They led us (Monday) night. This is something we have been lacking — them not leading us when the game is on the line. (Monday) night they carried us. We rode their backs all night.”

The Rams still have a long way to go to catch Morehouse, which is undefeated in conference play and on top of the East Division standings, but Cameron has seen much improvement from the team that opened with five straight conference losses.

“We are still a team that is in progress,” he said. “There are a lot of things we still need to improve on, but the biggest thing is how we came out and competed on the defensive end on (Monday).

Monday’s game was the first of a four-game homestand for Albany State, which plays again Saturday against Claflin.

PAINE WOMEN 72, ASU 62: Robert Skinner insists it’s time to start making changes to a season that is suddenly going in the wrong direction.

After winning three straight conference games to creep near the top of the East Division standings, Skinner has watched his Lady Rams drop its last two.

Monday’s loss to Paine College, the top seed in the East Division, convinced Albany State’s coach a transformation was needed.

Now.

“I told them that you have to be ready to play every night, and I don’t think we’ve been ready the last two games,” Skinner said, referring to Monday’s loss and the Jan. 19 loss to No. 2 Benedict. “I’m going to have to make some changes in our lineup and changes in our rotation. Becuase right now, our lineup and rotation just isn’t getting the job done.”

Former Bainbridge star and ASU sophomore guard April Thomas led the Lady Rams with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to prevent her team from slipping into fourth place in the East Division standings.

“This was the biggest game of the season so far,” Skinner said. “And defensively we just didn’t do a good enough job.”

ASU (6-9, 4-4) was within four points at halftime, but Paine outscored the Lady Rams, 34-28, in the second half to pull away.

Mitchell County grad Kedeemya Cooper added 11 points and 12 rebounds, and former Darton player LaKandra Beeks and Kadesha Matthews each added eight.

The Lady Rams play again Thursday at Shorter College before returning back to Albany for a four-game homestand starting with Claflin University on Saturday.

ARMSTRONG MEN 79, GSW 57: Matt Shaw scored 17 points to lead the Hurricanes, but it wasn’t enough against Armstrong, which got 22 points from Aric Miller in Monday’s win.

Georgia Southwestern’s Milos Kleut also scored 13 points and added 11 rebounds in the loss.

After a 2-0 start to conference play, GSW fell to 7-8 overall and 3-5 in the Peach Belt Conference.

The Hurricanes turned it over 20 times and shot just 40 percent from the field.

Alan Arnett and Michael Tankersley scored nine and eight points, respectively, for the Hurricanes, who trailed by 19 points at halftime and fell behind by as many as 25 in the second half.

ARMSTRONG WOMEN 79, GSW 36: The Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes’ quest to halt a four-game losing streak never got off the ground Monday evening.

An abysmal shooting night led to a record low 36 points for GSW since it joined Division II in 1999.

The Lady Hurricanes were held to a measly 20 percent shooting (12-of-59) on the night and were outrebounded by Armstrong, 53-36.

The 43-point loss is the worst defeat since a 44-point setback to Francis Marion on Feb. 7, 2009.

Jasmine McSwain proved to be the only bright spot for GSW as the forward continued her strong freshman campaign by notching 16 points and pulling down six rebounds for the Lady Hurricanes (3-13, 1-8 Peach Belt Conference).

Georgia Southwestern returns to the court Thursday evening at North Georgia.