January 23, 2010

Saints Rally Late, Slip By Clayton State 72-66

Box Score

MORROW, GA – The North Georgia men’s basketball stayed on a roll Saturday evening, coming from behind in the final minutes as the Saints ended the game on a 14-3 run to come away with a 72-66 victory at Clayton State University in Peach Belt Conference action.

North Georgia continues to remain one of the hottest teams in the league with their sixth straight victory, improving to 11-6 overall and 6-1 in the Peach Belt Conference. Clayton State falls to a game over the .500 mark at 9-8 on the year and move to 2-5 in the league.

With the Lakers leading 63-58 with 2:24 remaining in the game, the Saints came alive, going on a 14-3 run to end the game and escape with a six-point victory. North Georgia was 10-11 from the free throw line in the final two minutes and used layups from Andrew Bennett and Michael Moynihan to seal the win.

The Lakers’ only field goal the final 3:28 was a three-pointer with with 18 seconds remaining to cut the North Georgia lead to a pair at 68-66, but Kindall Butler drained four free throws in the final 12 seconds to create a six-point margin that turned out to be the difference.

North Georgia dominated the first half, leading by double- digits for much of the period as the Saints extended their lead to as many as 14 points, a margin they held at two different times in the first half. Clayton State would end the half on an 11-2 run however, cutting the Saints’ lead to just five at intermission.

The Lakers opened the second half on an 11-0 run to jump out to a six-point lead at 46-40 just three minutes into the period. Clayton State led for over 18 minutes in the second half, but never reached a double-digit lead, as the Lakers’ largest lead was eight points, a margin reached with 10:20 remaining in the game.

The Saints regained the lead with 56 seconds remaining as Michael Moynihan hit a driving layup to give the Saints a lead they would never relinquish.

Three North Georgia players finished in double figures, led by Michael Moynihan who tallied a game-high 23 points on 7-8 shooting from the field and a 7-8 performance from the free throw line. The senior added five assists in 38 minutes of action. Bernard Rimmer recorded in 14 points and five rebounds, while Carl Taylor chipped in 11 points.

Robert Murray had a team-high 17 points for the Lakers in a losing effort, while Brandon Robinson added 14 points and came up a rebounds shy of a double-double and Timothy Downs was the only other Clayton State player in double figures with 10 points and five assists.

North Georgia shot 43. 6 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from behind the arc, and an impressive 90.5 percent from the charity stripe, hitting 19 of 21 free attempts, while Clayton State was 38.1 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from long range, and 78.6 percent from the free throw line.

The Saints return to action next Thursday, traveling to St. Augustine, Florida, to take on new league member Flagler College in another Peach Belt Conference game. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Flagler Gymnasium.