November 6, 2009

Bulldogs Hold Off Saints, Take 87-53 Victory

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ATHENS, GA – The North Georgia men’s basketball opened the season Friday evening at the University of Georgia, trailing by 25 at the half before the Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch and defeated the Saints 87-53 in both team’s exhibition openers in Stegeman Coliseum.

In what is the beginning of a new era for Georgia basketball in Athens, first-year head coach Mark Fox pleased the fans in Stegeman Coliseum, coming out with pressure defense and a fast paced offense in the second half to hold off the Saints for the victory.

North Georgia never led in the game, falling behind early as the Bulldogs jumped on top with a 13-2 run to open the game, capped by a free throw by Trey Thompkins to give Georgia an 11-point lead.

Bernard Rimmer gave the Saints an early spark, scoring four of team’s first six points, including a break-away dunk with 10:57 remaining in the first half to pull the Saints to within nine points at 17-6.

Rimmer’s dunk woke up the Georgia offense and sparked a 19-8 run by the Bulldogs over the next eight minutes. UGA would extend their lead to 25 at the half as Ebuka Anyaorah knocked down a pair of free throws with one second remaining in the period to create the halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs came out firing early in the second half, using a 13-2 run capped by a fastbreak layup from Travis Leslie at the 15:33 mark to give Georgia a 58-22 lead, but the Saints answered right back in the following possession as Carl Tayler knocked down a three-pointer to cut the UGA lead to 33.

North Georgia ended the game on an 11-7 run, but the Bulldogs held on for the 87-53 victory, picking up a victory in both team’s first exhibition of the season. 

In the much-anticipated opening to the season for North Georgia, the Saints had nine players score, while shooting 33-percent from the floor and 29-percent from behind the arc.

Tyler Norman made his North Georgia debut in the game, scoring a team-high nine points on 2-8 shooting from the floor, while knocking down his only three-point attempt and recording a pair of steals. Rimmer and Taylor had eight points apiece, while Kindall Butler had seven points on 3-7 shooting from the field.

North Georgia returns to action Saturday, November 14, traveling to Kennesaw State University to take on the Owls in the Saints’ final exhibition of the year and the team’s second of three NCAA Division I opponents during the 2009 season. North Georgia will also travel to Johnson City, Tennessee, the second week of December to oppose East Tennessee State University.