SWAINSBORO — When you’re the No. 6-ranked team in all of Junior College men’s basketball, you’re supposed to win your first-round playoff game.
East Georgia State College did that, but it certainly wasn’t easy.
The No. 1 seed Bobcats won their opening playoff game over the Central Georgia Tech Cougars, 86-77, on Tuesday in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament.
The Bobcats (28-2) advance to the Regional semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and will host local rival, the No. 4 seeded Middle Georgia State Warriors with a trip to the championship and a bid to the NJCAA tournament on the line.
From the opening tip, the Cougars used an aggressive, up-tempo style that kept the Bobcats from getting comfortable. But, with the help of sharp-shooting ace Jordan Johnson, EGSC maintained a 41-40 halftime lead, capped off by a Johnson 3-point field goal to close the half. Johnson tallied 35 points on the night, with five 3s, and the Bobcats needed them all.
Halfway through the second half, the Bobcats extended their led to 17 points, 63-46. Central Georgia Tech came right back and cut the lead back down to five, led by Tyler Kendrick’s 23 point and six rebounds.
Coach Neil Bailey’s Bobcats, now with Middle Georgia State up next, finished the game with a chant from the packed gymnasium of, “Beast Georgia” by the fans.