TN – The North Georgia men’s basketball
team fought the Buccaneers down to the buzzer, but East Tennessee
State University held off the Saints for a 75-71 victory Thursday
evening at Brooks Gym in non-conference action.
The Saints fall to a game under .500 at 3-4 overall, while East Tennessee State gets back on track after dropping three straight, improving to 5-5 on the season.
The Saints trailed by nine points with 52 seconds remaining, but Keldrick Coleman and Tyler Norman combined to score nine points in the final 33 seconds to pull North Georgia within two points with six ticks remaining, but the Buccaneers pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and scored at the buzzer for the four-point victory.
In the first half, ETSU jumped out to a quick four-point lead, but North Georgia came back and took their first lead of the game at the 14:26 mark as Carl Taylor knocked down one of his four first-half three-pointers to give the Saints a 9-7 lead.
After the Buccaneers led by a point midway through the first half, North Georgia went on a 12-6 run to take their biggest lead of the night at seven at 27-20. East Tennessee State regained the lead with 29 seconds remaining in the first half as Tommy Hubbard knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Buccaneers a 33-31 lead at intermission.
ETSU came out in the second half and quickly built a lead , taking a seven-point advantage on two different occasions before Justin Tubb hit a three-pointer with 10:20 remaining to give the Buccaneers an 11-point lead at 52-41.
The home team continued to hold a double-digit lead and extended their advantage to a game-high 14 points with 2:56 remaining at 67-53. The Saints used a pair of free throws by Pat Moynihan with 1:14 left to pull to within six points, before Colemans’ layup gave North Georgia life again, pulling to within five points with 59 seconds remaining. The Buccaneers would then knock down four straight free throws to up by nine before the Saints’ final minute rally came up just short.
Micah Williams led ETSU with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Tubbs added 16 points, and Hubbard was the only other Buccaneer in double figures with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Bernard Rimmer played his best game of the year, recording his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Taylor added 15 points, and Andrew Bennett tallied 14 points on 7-9 shooting from the field. Pat Moynihan reached double figures with 10 points on perfect shooting from the field, going 3-3 from the floor, 2-2 from behind the arc, and 2-2 from the charity stripe.
North Georgia shot 41.5 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from long range, and 58.8 percent from the free throw line, while ETSU shot 45.3 percent from the floor, 20.0 percent from behind the arc, and 69.7 percent from the free throw line.
The Saints turned the ball over 16 times, while the Buccaneers committed 21 turnovers and held a decisive 34-22 advantage in points off the bench. Both teams played a half court game as ETSU had just six points in transition, while holding the Saints scoreless in the category.
North Georgia returns to action on Tuesday evening, hosting Anderson University in Memorial Hall with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. The non-conference mach up is the first of three December home games before the Saints open Peach Belt Conference play the first week in January against Augusta State University.