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DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's basketball team got the 2011-12 season off to a good start on Friday night, knocking off Brevard College 75-66 in their first game of the season at Memorial Hall.
The Saints (1-0) got a huge game from Clarence Tillman who poured in 27 points to lead all players in the contest and finished with seven rebounds. The senior converted on 10 of his team-leading 17 shots, and finished perfect at the line going 6-6.
In the second game of the night in the 2011 PBC/SAC Challenge, North Georgia struggled against the Tornados late and there was cause for concern, but they were able to pull away for the nine-point win.
The Saints led by 10 at the half before allowing Brevard to go on a 8-0 run, cutting the lead to just two before head coach Chris Faulkner called a timeout. North Georgia answered with a run of their own, scoring 10 unanswered points to take back control of the game.
Elijah Smith got back to his usual ways scoring 13 points and adding eight rebounds. Smith was the anchor in the post for the Saints, providing a defensive presence Brevard had to deal with.
Michael Varrichione played well off the bench for North Georgia. Varrichione finished with seven points and converted on a couple of key finishes down the stretch.
Brevard (0-1) was led by Gaither Hendrix who finished with 26 points in his team's first game of the season.
Darius Moose and Drew Schauss each finished with double figures, scoring 10 and 11 points respectively.
The Tornados outscored the Saints in the second half by a point, but the ten-point deficit they were faced with at half was too much to overcome.
North Georgia converted on 20 of their 25 free throw attempts, taking advantage of their chances from the line. Brevard was just 58 percent (11-19) from the charity stripe.
The Saints will return to action tomorrow playing host to Mars Hill College in their second game of the season and the final game of the 2011 PBC/SAC Challenge. Tip-off is set for 4:00 PM.
In the earlier game of the first annual event, Montevallo defeated Mars Hill 114-77. Montevallo will play Brevard tomorrow at 2:00 PM in Memorial Hall.