March 6, 2009

Bobcats End Saints Run in PBC Tournament Semis

Box Score

AIKEN, SC – North Georgia found themselves in a heavyweight up with Georgia College & State University Friday afternoon as the lead changed hands 17 times, but the Saints came up short, falling 81-76 to the Bobcats in the quarterfinal round of the 2009 PBC Tournament.

Shaun Keaton scored a career-high 34 points Friday afternoon to lead fourth-seeded Georgia College & State University to an 81-76 quarterfinal victory over fifth-seeded North Georgia College & State University at the Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball tournament held at USC Aiken’s Convocation Center.

North Georgia finishes the season 15-12, while Georgia College improves to 22-5 overall and will meet top-seeded Augusta State in Saturday’s 6 p.m. semifinal game.

LaBrian Lyons led the Saints with 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists, while Andre Morgan added 14 points, Anthony Rowe 13 points and seven rebounds, and Xavier Trice 12 points.

Keaton, connected on 8-of-18 field goals, including 6-of-12 three pointers, and 12-of-13 free throws. Graham Martin added 12 points, Ken Kemp 11 points and seven rebounds and Ty Rowland 10 points.

After trailing the Saints 35-30 at halftime, GCSU tied the game at 37-37 on a Kemp three-point play at 17:51. The Bobcats took their first lead of the second half at 17:28 when Rowland’s three made it 40-39.

Keaton made three straight three-pointers to give the Bobcats a 52-48 lead at 14:02, then a Rowland putback stretched it 58-50 at 10:26.

Behind key baskets from Lyons and Morgan, North Georgia tied the game at 64-64 at 5:34.

After NGCSU took a 70-69 lead on Lyons’ three at 3:08, the Bobcats took advantage of  two missed free throws at 2:28, when Keaton drained another three to give GCSU a 72-70 lead. Keaton added two free throws with 55 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to 74-70.

The Saints shot 50 percent from the field in the first half to take a 35-30 lead, while holding GCSU to 27.6 percent on 8-of-29 attempts.

After three ties and eight lead changes in the first half, North Georgia eased out to a 23-17 lead on a pair of free throws by Myron Talbert with 10:56 remaining. The Saints biggest lead of the half came at the 3:49 mark when Xavier Trice’s layup gave them a 33-25 advantage.

For the game, GCSU connected on 24-of-59 field goals for 40.7 percent, including 9-of-23 three pointers for 39.1 percent. The Bobcats were 24-of-28 from the free throw line for 85.7 percent.

North Georgia made 30-of-61 shots from the floor for 49.1 percent, including 8-of-19 threes for 42.1 percent. The Saints also sank 8-of-12 free throws for 66.7 percent.

North Georgia vs. Georgia College – Quotes

North Georgia head coach Chris Faulkner:
“We defended pretty well in the first half. Holding a team like to 30 points in the first half is tremendous. But they made so many shots in the second half, and that was the difference in the game.”

“We tried to go zone to protect some of our guards with foul trouble. They probably had better looks because of that.”

“Two weeks ago, we were in a two or three-way tie for ninth in the league, but we ended up fifth. We played better the last two or three weeks of the season.”