January 29, 2011

Saints Storm Back in Second Half, Topple Pirates

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's basketball continued to roll on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd, pulling away in the second half to defeat Armstrong Atlantic 92-75 in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference action.

The Saints win their fourth straight game and improve to 7-11 overall on the season and 4-5 in the Peach Belt Conference, while Armstrong Atlantic falls to 11-7 on the year and back to the .500 mark in league action at 5-5 on the season.

A back and forward affair saw five lead changes in the first half and six deadlocks, as a pair of runs was the story of the opening 20 minutes. The Pirates raced out to an 11-point lead midway through the second half, using a pair of free throws from Austin Edens to give Armstrong Atlantic a 24-13 lead with 10:15 remaining.

North Georgia fought back over the next seven minutes, outscoring the Pirates 21-10 and knotting the score 34-34 with 3:49 remaining on a jumper from Brody Langston. The Saints pulled ahead two possessions later as Pat Moynihan was perfect on a pair of free throws to give North Georgia a two-point edge, but the score would deadlock four more times before final tie sent the game to intermission at 43-43.

The Saints opened the second half on fire, following an Armstrong Atlantic bucket with a 12-3 run to run out to a seven-point lead at 55-48. Carl Taylor capped the run with a three-pointer at the 16:13 mark, his sixth straight point to give North Georgia their largest lead of the game.

The Pirates closed the gap to three points with 13:10 remaining before the Saints exploded with a 21-3 run to pull away and extend the lead to 20 points on a pair of free throws from Keldrick Coleman to give North Georgia a 77-57 lead with 6:37 left.

A Marquez Jackson layup at the 4:05 mark gave the Saints what would be their largest lead of the night at 21 points as North Georgia held on down the stretch for a 17-point win.

Four North Georgia players finished in double figures, led by a game-high 23 points from Carl Taylor. His four three-pointers and perfect night from the charity led the Saints, while Coleman added 19 points and Elijah Smith and Clarence Tillman each finished with 10 points. Smith's 11 rebounds was also a game-high as he recorded another double-double.

The Saints will have a four-day break before returning to action on Wednesday evening, traveling to Georgia College for an in-state battle against the Bobcats. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Center.