2011 Wingate By Wyndham Holiday Classic: Day One Wrapup
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Georgia College and Shaw put on shooting clinics in claiming first-day victories in the 2011 Wingate by Wyndham Holiday Classic, hosted by Armstrong Atlantic State University on Friday afternoon at Alumni Arena. Shaw knocked off the host Pirates, 88-71, while the Bobcats downed Mars Hill, 92-66.
In the second game, Shaw (7-2) hit its first six three-point shots of the game in jumping out to a 31-16 lead in the first 10 minutes of the contest. The Bears rode that momentum to a 11-point halftime lead, 45-34, but Armstrong (4-7) opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to cut the advantage down to three, 45-42, in the first three and a half minutes after intermission.
The Bears turned to leading scorer Malik Alvin, who canned back-to-back three-pointers as Shaw built the lead back to double digits with a 11-4 run and Armstrong never got to within single digits the rest of the way.
"At the start of the second half when we came out down 11, then we cut it to three twice on them, I thought 'Hey, here we go, we've got a chance," Armstrong head coach Jeremy Luther said. "They pushed it back out, got up pretty big, so we called a timeout. We were able to get a few stops, but down only 11, we had chances at the free throw line and missed both times."
Alvin made his first nine shots from the floor, including five threes, en route to a 28-point performance on 10-of-12 shooting that included 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. As a team, Shaw hit 54.2 percent from the floor and 56 percent (14-of-25) from three-point range in the victory.
Curtis Hines came off the bench for Shaw to hit for 23 points as well, while Larail McCoy added 14 points.
Armstrong placed four players in double figures, led by Chris Vanlandingham's 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. The senior passed the 900 point barrier and now has 917 in his career, creeping closer to becoming the 18th member of the 1,000 point club in Armstrong men's basketball.
"Shaw is a very good basketball team and I scheduled them because I want to play the best," Luther said. "I'm still proud of our kids because I felt the effort they gave us was sustainable for a long period of time - longer than we've had for two or three weeks now. It's very encouraging. We also had good energy on the bench, helping each other out on the floor and guys trying to encourage and uplift other players."
The Pirates shot 59 percent in the first half (13-of-22), but cooled off in the second half, shooting just 40 percent (13-of-32) after intermission and just 47 percent (8-of-17) from the free throw line.
In the day's first contest, Georgia College shot a blistering 57 percent in the second half (20-of-35) to pull away from Mars Hill in the 24-point victory over the Lions.
The Bobcats (7-2) were led by Scott Ferguson's 20 points and Ryan Aquino's double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tarrence Chatman came off the bench to notch 17 points as well for Georgia College.
Mars Hill (3-7) was led by the South Atlantic Conference's leading scorer, Sammy Emile, who had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor and 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Terrell Harris added 21 points as well for the Lions.
Play concludes on Saturday in the 2011 Wingate by Wyndham Holiday Classic with Georgia College facing Shaw at 11:00 a.m. and Armstrong meeting Mars Hill at 1:00 p.m.