– The North Georgia men’s basketball team continued to
roll on Monday evening, winning their fourth straight conference
game as the Saints placed five players in double figures to take
down USC Aiken 81-76 in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference
With the win, head coach Chris Faulkner picked up his 100th victory at the helm of the Saints. Currently in his seventh season, Faulkner is looking to lead his squad to his second 20-win season.
The Saints win their fourth straight game, improving to 9-6 overall and 4-1 in the Peach Belt Conference, while the Pacers fall to 9-6 on the season and an even 4-4 in league action.
North Georgia jumped out to a quick start in the early going, using a pair of jumpers from Kindall Butler that led to a 12-5 advantage at the 14:59 mark. USC Aiken would respond over the next four minutes however, knotting the score at 15-15 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Saints would explode and use a pair of dunks over the next five minutes to spark a 13-1 run as a Reed buck layup gave North Georgia a 12-point lead at 28-16 with 7:00 minutes remaining in the first half.
USC Aiken would respond with four straight points after the Saints’ run, but North Georgia would have answer of their own as the Pacers never pulled closer than six points down the stretch as the Saints took a 39-33 advantage into intermission.
North Georgia caught fire to open the second half, scoring seven straight points as Andrew Bennett slammed home a bucket in the lane, followed by a running layup from Michael Moynihan, and Carl Taylor drained a three-pointer to cap the 7-0 run to open the half, giving the Saints a 46-33 advantage.
The Saints continued to extend their lead, pushing the advantage to a game-high 18 points on a Pat Moynihan three-pointer at the 15:01 mark, giving North Georgia a 54-36 lead.
USC Aiken would mount a comeback, using a barrage of three-pointers at the midway through the second half to cut the North Georgia lead to single digits at 60-53 before creeping even closer to within a basket at 71-68 with just 3:28 remaining.
With under a minute to go, a North Georgia jumper was off the mark, giving USC Aiken the ball down by a point, but Carl Taylor picked off a cross court pass and went the distance for the layup and a foul, completing the three-point play the old fashioned way and giving the Saints a four-point lead at 77-73 with 35 seconds remaining.
Both teams traded baskets over the final seconds as the Saints escaped with an 81-76 victory, North Georgia’s fourth straight PBC win.
Carl Taylor led five players in double figures, putting up 18 points, while Michael Moynihan scored 16, Bernard Rimmer 13, Bennett 11, and Pat Moynihan 10. Bennett also recorded the game’s only double-double with 10 rebounds.
Casey McMasters scored a team-high 18 points for the Pacers, knocking down five three-pointers and going 6-10 from the field, while Mark Brown tallied 15 and Rashad Flowers added 12.
North Georgia returns to action on Wednesday evening, hosting long time rival Georgia Southwestern in Memorial Hall with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m. in front of an already sold out crowd of more than 2,500.