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Georgetown College men's basketball knocked off a very hot Bluefield College team to start its journey in the 2014 Mid-South Conference Basketball Championships presented by GoJohnnyGo 5K/10K Run/Walk.
The No. 16 Tigers (21-9) erased a double-digit early deficit, then scratched and clawed for the 78-74 win.
Monty Wilson scored a tournament career-high with 31 points; he had 27 in the semifinal loss to University of Pikeville in 2013. The senior was hot early, scoring 17 points as the Tigers changed a 12-point deficit to a two-point lead at the break.
He scored four quick ones, but remained quiet as the Rams (15-12) altered defenses to keep him off-balance.
"They did a good job of playing defense and I just had to find new ways to score and get going," Wilson said. "Sometimes going to the line is best as I get to see the ball go in and get back in rhythm."
One of the nation's best free throw shooters, averaging 80.1 percent from there coming into the game, found his way to the line three times with 5:33 remaining. He went a perfect 6-of-6 and also hit a three down the stretch to help the Tigers salt the game away.
"It comes down to hitting free throws and defensive rebounds," said GC coach Chris Briggs. "We did both very well in the final minutes."
Deondre McWhorter came up with a few big boards. The sophomore finished with a game-tying high 11, including two in the final 25 seconds.
Russ Middleton provided a spark off the bench with 14 points. The senior hit three from three-point range and had two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Jaylen Daniel had 11 points. Noah Cottrill chipped in with 10. Montavious Marc had nine. McWhorter finished with two and D.J. Townsend one.
Georgetown returns to action 5 pm EST Saturday facing University of the Cumberlands.