DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's basketball team got back on track and ended the 2010 calendar year in style, never trailing in a 78-62 victory over Young Harris College Friday evening in non-conference action in Memorial Hall.
North Georgia splits the season series with Young Harris with each team defending their home floor as the Saints improve to 3-6 on the year, while the Mountain Lions drop their third straight contest, falling to 3-5 on the season.
The Saints led from wire-to-wire, jumping on top in the opening seconds as Elijah Smith guided the opening tip to Pat Moynihan who fed Keldrick Coleman for a breakaway slam just four seconds into the game.
North Georgia scored five unanswered points to open the contest, but the Mountain Lions made a run, pulling to within a point as Bryson Robertson hit a layup at the 13:57 mark, making it a 7-6 Saints' advantage.
Carl Taylor extended the North Georgia lead to double-digits at the 8:53 mark, knocking down a jumper to make it 18-8, and later connecting on a three-pointer to give the Saints their largest lead of the half at 38-14 with 4:40 remaining.
Young Harris kept it close and pulled to within seven points on a three-pointer from Frank Adams with 47 seconds remaining in the half, but Robby Goldsmith answered on the other end, dropping a three-pointer from the corner to give North Georgia a 10-point lead at 35-25 heading to intermission.
The Saints continued to pull away in the second half, opening the period on a 13-6 run, capped by a layup from Smith to give North Georgia a 17-point advantage at 48-31. Moynihan gave his team the largest lead of the night with just under eight minutes remaining, knocking down a three-pointer to give the Saints a 65-39 lead.
The Mountain Lions fought back in the final minutes, closing the back gap to 16 points in the final seconds as North Georgia held on for the 78-62 victory on the final day of the calendar year.
A trio of North Georgia players finished in double figures, led by Clarence Tillman's 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the floor, while Taylor added 14 points in 31 minutes of action. Smith tallied a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, including two blocks and a pair of steals.
Adams was nearly perfect from the charity stripe for Young Harris, sinking 11 free throws to finish with 28 points. Steven Viterbo was a rebound shy of a double-double, tallying 18 points and adding three assists.
North Georgia shot 45-percent from the floor, 37-percent from long range, and 60-percent from free throw line, while the Mountain Lions were 35-percent from the field, 30-percent from the behind the arc, and 70-percent from the charity stripe.
The Saints will have the weekend off before returning to action on Monday, January 3, traveling to Augusta State to open Peach Belt Conference play. Tip-off against the 5th-ranked and undefeated Jaguars is set for 7:30 p.m. in Christenberry Fieldhouse.