February 19, 2011

22nd-Ranked Canes Hold off Saints in Triple Overtime

DAHLONEGA, GA – Playing in one of the most exciting games in recent history in Memorial Hall, the North Georgia men's basketball team was unable to overcome 22nd-ranked Georgia Southwestern, falling 76-74 in triple overtime in Peach Belt Conference action.

With the game all but over in regulation, GSW's Evan Mobley stepped to the free throw line with 1.9 seconds remaining and the score deadlocked at 50-50, but the junior was unable to connect on either attempt as the Saints pulled down the rebound and quickly called timeout.

With just over one second remaining, North Georgia threw a deep pass that was saved by Elijah Smith just before going out of bounds and he threw a behind the back pass that found Clarence Tillman in stride, but the junior's last second jumper from the top of the key was wide of the mark, sending the game to the first extra period.

The Saints jumped on top in the first overtime as Robby Goldsmith grabbed a missed jumper mid air and put it home to give North Georgia a 52-50 edge, a lead that turned out to be the largest of the first overtime period as two lead changes and three ties later North Georgia found themselves with the ball and the score deadlocked at 55-55. Tillman would get the final look again, this time spinning away from the defender scooping a layup off the glass that came up short, forcing the second extra period.

North Georgia jumped on top by four points in the second overtime as Carl Taylor and Brody Langston hit back-to-back shots to give the Saints a 59-55 lead, but the Hurricanes responded again as Mobley drilled a three-pointer to pull GSW to within a point. North Georgia never trailed in the period, but Colin Slotter hit one of two attempts from the free throw line to create a 65-65 tie with 15 seconds and the Saints were unable to convert again at the buzzer, sending the PBC battle to a third overtime.

The Saints got off to another hot start in the third extra period, holding another four-point lead, but Mobley came up big again, connecting on another three-pointer to give Georgia Southwestern a two-point lead at 71-69. Not to be outdone, Carl Taylor came up firing from five feet behind the arc and hit nothing but net as the lead changed hands once again.

With time ticking down and the Saints down by one, North Georgia was forced to foul, sending Phillips Brown to charity stripe with five seconds remaining. Brown drilled the first attempt, but missed the second as Marquez Jackson snagged the rebound and pushed up the court, but his last second game-winning three-pointer was off the iron, giving the Hurricanes a two-point victory in triple overtime.

The Saints drop their second straight game, falling to 9-15 overall on the year and 6-9 in Peach Belt Conference action. The 22nd-ranked Hurricanes avoid back-to-back losses for the first time on the 2011 campaign, improving to 18-6 overall and 11-4 in league action.

Taylor led North Georgia with 19 points, while Langston added 15, and Tillman finished with 13. Jon Nolton was a point shy of double figures in 26 minutes of action, tallying four rebounds and going 4-for-6 from the field.

Four GSW finished in double digits, led by Brown who tallied a game-high 25 points and 22 rebounds for a double-double to pace the Hurricanes. Mobley followed with 20 points, while Slotter added 19, and Trayce Macon finished with 11 points.

The Saints return to action on Wednesday evening, welcoming nearby rival Clayton State to town for another Peach Belt Conference showdown. Tip-off against the Lakers is set for 7:30 p.m. as students are expected to pack Memorial Hall for another edition of Spirit Night.