Mountain Lions Too Much for Saints in Season Opener
YOUNG HARRIS, GA – The North Georgia men's basketball team had their hands full on Monday evening, traveling to Young Harris College and falling 78-68 to the Mountain Lions at a packed house inside the YHC Recreation Center.
The Saints drop the opening game of the 2010-11 campaign, falling to 0-1 on the year, while Young Harris makes a successful return to the hardwood, picking up a victory in the program's first contest.
The Mountain Lions jumped off the deck early, scoring the game's first bucket and racing out to a five-point lead at the 16:52 mark as Matt Preston hit a layup to give Young Harris a 7-2 edge.
The Saints responded however, scoring six straight points to take their first lead of the game on a George Jgerenaia jumper with 14:13 remaining, making it an 8-7 North Georgia lead.
The Saints' lead was short lived and their only of the half as Young Harris responded with a 13-2 run to take a 20-10 lead, capped by a jumper from Steven Viterbo with 9:59 remaining the half.
The Mountain Lions' lead continued to grow as O-Neil Lubin knocked down a pair of free throws with five seconds on the clock, sending the home team to the locker room with a 15-point lead at 35-20.
North Georgia was unable to cut into the lead early in the second half as the Mountain Lions led by as many as 16 and held three different 14-point leads in the first four minutes.
The Saints finally cut the lead to single digits as full court pressure forced a turnover and Carl Taylor stepped up and drilled a three-pointer at the 13:58 mark, pulling North Georgia to within seven at 43-36.
Young Harris then brought the crowd to life, pushing the lead back to double digits with three minutes to play, and eventually taking a 13-point edge with 2:13 remaining.
After two players fouled out for Young Harris, North Georgia made one final push, applying full court pressure and forcing turnovers, but the Mountain Lions held on in the final seconds, taking a 78-68 victory to open the season.
Carl Taylor led the Saints with 15 points, but connected on just one of seven three-pointers, while Elijah Smith had the game's only double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. North Georgia shot 41-percent fromt he field, 60-percent from the free throw line, and 12-percent from long range.
North Georgia returns to action on Wednesday evening, playing host to Hiawassee College for the Saints' home opener. tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall.