– Francis Marion University used a 12-0 first-half run to
take the lead for good as the Patriots held off North Georgia
College & State University 81-56 Wednesday evening in Peach
Belt Conference action in Memorial Hall.
North Georgia drops their fourth straight game, falling to 12-10 overall on the season and 7-5 in the Peach Belt Conference’s West Division, while Francis Marion improves to 17-5 on the season, and 9-4 in the league’s East Division.
North Georgia jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the early going, using a three-pointer from Tyler Norman and a bucket from Bernard Rimmer to create the early five-point advantage.
Francis Marion responded over the next five minutes, scoring 12 straight points as part of an 18-2 run, capped by a layup from Mike Candelaria to give the Patriots an 11-point edge at 18-7 with 12:17 remaining in the half.
The Patriots continued run away from the Saints in the first period, leading by as many as 25 points at 40-15 off a layup from Kendrick Robinson with 3:12 left in the first half. North Georgia pulled to within 17 points off a three-pointer with 56 seconds remaining, but Francis Marion took a 19-point lead into intermission at 43-23.
North Georgia started to claw their back into the game in the second half, cutting the Francis Marion lead to just 13 off a pair of Tyler Norman free throws with 14:57 remaining, making it a 48-35 game.
The Saints would trim the lead to just 11 points before the Patriots responded with a 15-1 run to extend their lead right back to 25 at 70-45 with just 7:23 to play in the second half. Francis Marion led by as many as 28 at two different points down the stretch before coming away with the 25-point win.
Robinson and Kaylan Anderson tallied 15 points apiece for the Patriots, while Edward Gullatte added 13 points on 5-8 shooting. Tyler Norman was the only North Georgia player in double figures, finishing with 13 points, while Rimmer finished a point shy of double figures while adding seven rebounds.
North Georgia shot 30 percent from the field, 15.8 percent from long range, and 63.9 percent from the free throw line, while Francis Marion was 48.3 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from behind the arc, and 65.2 percent from the charity stripe.
North Georgia returns to action on Saturday afternoon, traveling to UNC Pembroke to take on the Braves in another Peach Belt Conference games. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center.