December 19, 2011

Saints Rally Late but Fall 72-69 at Belmont Abbey

Contact: David Beall,

BELMONT, NC – The North Georgia men's basketball team put together a furious rally late on Monday afternoon, but fell 72-69 to Belmont Abbey at the Wheeler Center in non-conference action.

The Saints (5-5) were looking to build on their first conference win of the year last week, but fell to the Crusaders (7-3) who are currently ranked fourth in the country in scoring per game. 

While North Georgia held Belmont Abbey 20 points under their 92.4 scoring average for the year, the Crusaders overcame a horrendous shooting performance from long range to pull out the three-point victory.

The Saints held their largest lead in the opening minutes of the contest when Scott Windom knocked down a jump shot with 17:15 remaining in the opening half to give North Georgia an 8-2 advantage. The six-point lead would be the largest by either team in the first half. 

Nine ties and eight lead changes later Belmont Abbey used a pair of free throws from Tyshawn Good to give them a one-point lead at 36-35 leading to intermission.

The Saints never led in the second half, but stayed within striking distance until just under 10 minutes remaining when the Crusaders went on a run and pushed their advantage to double digits at 60-50 with 9:19 left. 

North Georgia started to surge with under six minutes to play, using a 7-0 run capped by a three-pointer from Pat Moynihan with 3:32 remaining to cut the Belmont Abbey lead to just three at 68-65.

The Saints' defense clamped down over the final 6:43, holding the Crusaders without a field goal and a trio of free throws, but Belmont Abbey overcame the offensive struggles down the stretch to claim the win. 

North Georgia pulled to within a bucket at 71-69 with two seconds remaining, but a trio of missed free throws in the final minute proved to be the difference in a three-point loss.

Clarence Tillman led all scorers with a game-high 21 points, 17 of which came in the first half. He was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line and finished a rebound shy of a double-double. 

Moynihan added 16 points and six rebounds, while Windom chipped in 14 points and finished with nine rebounds.

Three Crusaders finished in double figures, led by Good who tallied 20 points. Kyle Phillips added 15 points and Jay Council rounded out the Belmont Abbey players in double figures with 14 points and six rebounds.

North Georgia will have 12 days off during the Christmas holidays before returning to action on Saturday, December 31, for a New Years Eve showdown with Anderson University in non-conference action. Tip-off in Memorial Hall is slated for 2:00 p.m.