Sluggish Start Dooms Men's Basketball In 84-79 Peach Belt Loss To AASU
DAHLONEGA, Georgia – (UNGAthletics.com) – The University of North Georgia men's basketball team rallied back from an early 17-point hole but would ultimately come up short in an 84-79 Peach Belt Conference loss to visiting Armstrong Atlantic State University on Saturday in Memorial Hall. Ishmael Hollis scored a team-hight 22 points to lead four Nighthawks in double figures in the team's league opener.
Armstrong (4-4, 1-0 PBC) raced out of the gate after scoring 16 of the game's first 20 points to lead 20-6 at the 12:20 mark. The Pirates extended their lead to a game high 17 (23-6) less than a minute later on a free throw by Eric Eversley.
North Georgia (3-4, 0-1 PBC) gathered momentum late in the first period. Trailing 32-25 with 4:38 remaining, UNG would end the half on a 11-2 run punctuated with a buzzer-beating layup by Travis Core giving the Nighthawks their first lead of the game 36-34 at the break.
AASU opened the second frame on a 14-3 run to take a 48-39 lead and the Pirates maintained a two-possession lead until a layup by Core at the 7:11 mark cut the lead to a single point (62-61). Armstrong took control of the game over the next five minutes with a 12-4 run to take a 74-65 lead with just 2:31 remaining.
Core finished with 18 points and seven assists. Lamar Richardson added 17 to the Nighthawks' cause including a 5-12 performance from behind the three-point line. Michael Varrichione came off the bench and added 11 points for North Georgia.
Hichem Benayad Cherif tallied a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds for AASU while Eversley completed a double-double of his own with 15 points and 10 collections. Kenny Bellinger II pitched in with 17 points for the Pirates.
The shooting percentages balanced out with AASU connecting on 25-58 (43%) compared to UNG's 29-66 (44%) but Armstrong held a decisive 47-33 edge on the glass.
The victory ended three-game slide for Armstrong.
The Nighthawks return to action on Monday, December 16 at 7:30 when Flagler comes to Memorial Hall for the semester's final PBC action.