February 26, 2011

Saints Drop Thriller to Georgia College on Senior Day

DAHLONEGA, GA – The story of the season 2010-11 was relived on Saturday evening as the North Georgia men's basketball team dropped another heartbreaker, this time falling 68-67 at the hands of Georgia College, wrapping up the season for the Saints on Senior Day in Memorial Hall.

North Georgia continues to struggle against the Bobcats, dropping their 12th straight game against Georgia College as the Saints end the regular season at 10-16 overall and 7-10 in the Peach Belt Conference.

Georgia College will enter next week's PBC Tournament at 16-9 overall and 10-7 in league action, as they fight to host a first-round game at the Centennial Center. Despite dropping 12 straight to the Bobcats, North Georgia still holds a 32-27 lead in the all-time series between the two programs.

The Saints jumped on top early as Chaun Tinney drilled a three-pointer just seven seconds into the contest, propelling North Georgia to a 9-2 lead over the first four minutes.

Robby Goldsmith knocked down a three-pointer to create the seven-point margin, and Clarence Tillman hit one of his own from long-range three minutes later, extending the lead right back to seven points at 12-5 with 13:39 remaining.

Georgia College slowly cut into the lead and finally jumped in front at the 6:30 mark of the opening half when Nate Hamilton hit a three-pointer, giving the Bobcats a 19-17 advantage. The two teams traded the lead over the final minutes of the half until Tillman got a jumper to go with 39 seconds left, breaking the fifth deadlock of the period and sending the Saints to intermission with a 30-28 lead.

The lead continued to change hands in the second half, but Carl Taylor hit a jumper at the 16:28 mark, knotting the score for the seventh time in the game at 34-34.

North Georgia started to pull away in the middle of the second period, stretching the margin to as many as seven points on three different occasions, including at the 5:17 mark when Tillman forced a turnover and slammed it home on the other end to give the Saints a 58-51 lead.

Georgia College would not go away however, scoring seven straight points, capped by a pair of free throws from Nate Hamilton to knot the score once again, this time at 58-58 with 2:51 remaining.

The Bobcats held a one-point lead with 13 seconds remaining, but Clarence Tillman stole an inbounds pass and was fouled on layup, giving the junior a chance to give North Georgia the lead. Tillman created the 10th tie of the game with the first free throw, before sending the second attempt home, giving North Georgia a 67-66 lead with just 10 seconds left.

JP Davis brought the ball up the floor for the Georgia College on the ensuing possession and went coast-to-coast, laying it home with just three seconds left to give the Bobcats a 68-67 lead.

Taylor got off a desperation three-pointer just inside the half court line, but the game-winner bounced off the back iron, sending the Bobcats to a one-point victory and capping the Saints' season.

Tillman led the Saints with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Taylor finished with 13 points, and Goldsmith tallied 12 points and four rebounds. Tinney dished out a game-high nine assists in 30 minutes of action.

Before the game, the four seniors from the 2010-11 squad were honored as Jon Nolton, Keldrick Coleman, Carl Taylor, and Brody Langston were recognized as they played their final games in a North Georgia uniform.