COLUMBUS, Ga. – The University of North Georgia men's basketball team was sent to the free throw line just once in the second half Thursday night while Columbus State University made 21 attempts from the charity stripe in the Cougar's 75-61 victory over the Saints in a Peach Belt Conference West Division matchup.
With their second loss in a row, the Saints fall to 11-7 and 6-5 in PBC action while the Cougars, who had dropped three of their last five games, improve to 10-9 overall and 5-7 in conference.
North Georgia ended the game shooting 36.5% (23-62) from the field but the Cougars were able to hold the Saints to their second-lowest three-point shooting performance of the season, 9.5% (2-21). The Saints narrowly beat out the Cougars under the basket, 48-45, but 15 turnovers compared to nine by Columbus State hindered North Georgia's efforts.
Ishmael Hollis led all scorers with 22 points and ended the contest with a double-double as he also corralled in 14 rebounds, 10 off the defensive glass. Freshman Corey Green scored 14 points, going 6-7 from the field, while Travis Core ended the game with 10 points including one of the Saints two treys.
Columbus State, which shot 38.1% (24-63) from the field and 32% (8-25) from three-point range, had all five starters score in double figures led by Jermaine Morgan's 16 points. He went 6-12 from the field and 4-9 from the free throw line while also bringing down eight rebounds.
Rory Miller was the next highest scorer and just missed out on a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, but was just 5-12 from the field and 2-7 from three-point range. BJ Battle and Idell Bell each scored 12 while Jahmad Saleem scored 10 with eight points coming from the charity stripe.
Columbus State opened the game with eight unanswered points in the first three minutes of regulation before Green was able to put the Saints on the board with two free throws. From there, the Saints tried desperately to regain their footing and were able to tie things up at 26-26 with 4:44 reminaing in the first half when Victor Holder connected on both of his free throws.
While the Saints tied the game up two more times before the halftime buzzer, the Cougars always seemed to have an answer and were able to edge out a one-point lead heading into the locker room.
Out of the intermission, Battle and Bell each hit three-pointers to extend the lead, and the Cougars cruised from there, never trailing and seeing their lead cut to only five points after leading by as many as 13 before Morgan dunked the ball with no time remaining in regulation to end the game.
The Saints will next travel to Montevallo, Ala. where the University of Montevallo Falcons await their arrival for a rematch on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern standard time. The last time the two met on January 10 inside Memorial Hall Gymnasium, the Falcons claimed a 73-54 win.