February 2, 2011

Saints Fall Short as Bobcats Hold off Late Rally

MILLEDGEVILLE, GA – With the longest winning streak of the year on the line, the North Georgia men's basketball team was unable to overcome an early deficit as Georgia College led wire-to-wire and came away with a 66-58 victory in the Centennial in Peach Belt Conference action.

The Saints see their winning streak end at four games, falling to 7-12 overall on the year and 4-6 in the Peach Belt Conference. The Bobcats get back on track, ending their four-game slide and improving to 10-8 overall and 4-7 in league action.

While the Saints still lead the all-time series 32-26, North Georgia has now lost 11 straight games against the Bobcats and are still winless against Georgia College since entering the NCAA and the Peach Belt Conference during the 2005-06 season.

The Saints had an uphill battle from the opening minutes as Georgia College scored the game's first four points, but Chaun Tinney knocked down the North Georgia's first bucket, drilling a three-pointer at the 17:17 mark to cut the Bobcats lead to a single points at 4-3.

The Georgia College's lead swelled to seven points over the next six minutes as the Bobcats doubled up the Saints 14-7 on a free throw by Reece Wiedeman at the 11:23 mark. Wiedeman was at it again with less than 10 minutes to play in the half, taking a pass in transition and slamming it home to give the home team an 11-point lead at 18-7.

The Bobcats led by as many as 15 points with 6:05 remaining in the half, but the Saints came alive as Carl Taylor drilled a three-pointer, followed by back-to-back buckets from behind the arc from Tinney to cut the lead single digits.

North Georgia stayed hot from long in the form of Robby Goldsmith who stepped back and knocked down a three-pointer at the 2:08 mark, part of a 16-3 run to get the Saints right back into contention. The lead shrank to as few as two points before the Bobcats took a 33-28 advantage into intermission.

 Georgia College started the second half much like they did the first, scoring often and pushing the lead to nine points on a three-pointer from Ryan Aquino with 17:07 remaining in the contest.

The Saints then battled back over the next 10 minutes, trading baskets with the Bobcats before pulling to within four points on two different occasions. Taylor was left open at the 6:13 mark and he would not disappoint, knocking down his third three-pointer of the game to cut the Georgia College to 51-48.

The Bobcats started heat from there as Josh Hurst hit a baseline jumper and Aquino hot another three-pointer, extending the lead back to nine points at 61-52. Clarence Tillman drilled a three-pointer with 1:09 left, but it proved to be too little too late as the Bobcats hit free throws and escaped with a 66-58 victory.

Taylor led the Saints with 16 points, going 4-for-6 from long range and 6-for-12 from the field, while Tinney and Goldsmith each finished with 11 points apiece to round out the North Georgia players in double figures.

Four Georgia College players finished in double-digits, led by Aquino and Wiedeman who tallied 16 apiece, while Jared Holmes and Mike Augustine added 11 each.

North Georgia finished 10-for-21 from long range for 47-percent, while going 21-for-51 from the field, good for 41-percent. The 10 three-pointers by the Saints is a season-high, breaking the previous mark of eight at Anderson on December 15.

The Saints will look to get back on track this the weekend, hitting the road for another Peach Belt Conference contest at in-state rival Columbus State University. Tip-off against the Cougars is set for 3:30 p.m. in the Lumpkin Center.