DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The University of North Georgia men's basketball team enters Saturday's game at Georgia Southwestern State University knowing they will be in the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Basketball Championships. The only other drama aside from wanting to win is that the Saints are playing for seeding in the conference tournament.
The Saints locked up their first bid into the tournament since the 2009-10 season with an 82-78 win over Lander University last Saturday, Feb. 23 at home. But North Georgia is looking to lock up the PBC West Division's No. 2 seed in the Columbus State University hosted tounament and end the regular-season on a high note with a win on Saturday.
Saturday's 7:30 p.m. meeting with Georgia Southwestern will be the second time this season the two programs have met on the hardwood. The Saints won that last meeting 78-73 at home on January 24, holding the Hurricanes to just 27 first half points, and have since gone 4-5.
The North Georgia men are currently averaging 84.1 points per game while shooting 47.0% from the field. Entering the final regular-season game, North Georgia continues to be led by Ishmael Hollis, Scott Windom and Lamar Richardson all in double-digit averages. Hollis, who started the season off red-hot, is currently averaging 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game after scoring in double figures in three of the last four games.
A senior who is playing in his last few collegiate basketball games, Windom has scored in double-digits in each of the last six games, including 23 at Young Harris on February 7. In that game, he went 9-15 from the field and 3-4 from three-point range. He averages 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Richardson, who averages 14.1 points per game, is the Saints' leading three-point scorer at 3.6 treys per game while shooting 42.3% from beyond the arc. He and Hollis average a combined 5.6 three-pointers and shoot a combined 41% from three-point range.
Georgia Southwestern (12-13, 8-10 PBC) enters Saturday's regular-season finale in the midst of a three-game losing skid which comes on the heals of a five-game winning streak. The Hurricanes, like the Saints, are locked into the tournament but are playing for seeding.
In the January 24 meeting between North Georgia and GSW, Matt Shaw led all scorers with 19 points off a 5-11 shooting performance while Milos Kleut scored 17 and Daryl Davis netted 16.
Shaw and Jamon Hawkins lead the 'Canes for the season in scoring with just over 13 points per game each ahead of Alan Arnett's 12.2 off the bench. Both Shaw and Hawkins have started all 25 games for Georgia Southwestern which is shooting 47.7% from the field as a team and averaging 66.7 points per outing.
Kleut leads the team with a 62.0% shooting performance for the season while Shaw is second on the team with 52.6% from the field. Hawkins leads the team from three-point range at 2.2 three-pointers and 2.9 assists per game and 44.3% shooting. Arnett also leads the team under the basket with 6.3 rebonds per game.