GAFFNEY, SC – The North Georgia men's basketball team was looking to string together back-to-back wins on Wednesday evening, but Limestone College held on down the stretch for a 67-62 victory at The Timken Center in non-conference action.
North Georgia continues to struggle in close games, falling to 2-5 on the season, with all of their last four losses coming by seven points or less. The Limestone Saints stay hot at home, winning their fifth straight game and improving to 5-1 on the year.
Chris Faulkner's squad played another team close in the opening half as the lead changed hands eight times with neither team holding more than a five-point edge.
Limestone answered right back over the next two minutes, scoring seven straight points of their own to regain lead as Jarrell Douglass sent a layup home with 7:00 minutes remaining to give his team a 19-16 lead.
Stewart Clark kept the home Saints hot with a three-pointer at the 3:33 mark to give Limestone their largest lead of the half at 27-22, but Jon Nolton and Carl Taylor responded with back-to-back buckets to deadlock the score before Limestone took a 32-21 lead to the Locker room.
Elijah Smith came out in the second half and scored the first three points to put North Georgia right back in the lead, but Limestone answered with a pair of scores of their own at the 17:45 mark and would never trail again in the game.
North Georgia continued to fight, deadlocking the score on four occasions in the second half, but the Saints never managed to pull ahead as Limestone pushed the lead to 63-55 with 3:17 remaining for their largest lead of the contest.
Clarence Tillman kept North Georgia close in the final minutes, cutting the deficit to just three with 2:30 remaining, and Taylor had a chance to force overtime with seven seconds left, but his three-pointer was off the mark, giving Limestone a pair of last-second free throws and a five-point victory on their home floor.
North Georgia used balanced scoring as Tillman led the way with 18 points, following by 15 from Smith and Taylor added 13 on 3-for-10 shooting from behind the arc.
Limestone's Douglass led all scorers with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Michael Barrett tallied 18 points and Danny Friends came up a rebound shy of a double-double with 12 points.
It won't get any easier for North Georgia as the Saints travel back to South Carolina a week from today, this time taking on Anderson College (5-4). Tip-off against the Trojans is set for 7:00 p.m.