KENNESAW, GA – Kennesaw State had four players score in double-figures, led by Golden Ingle’s game-high 22 points, as the Owls christened the new Kennesaw State Convocation Center with a 82-67 win over North Greenville University in exhibition action on Saturday night.
Kennesaw State forced 24 turnovers and pulled down 20 offensive rebounds in the win.
North Greenville jumped out quickly, making five of its first six shots, including three-pointers by PJ Schumacher and Josh Burgess, to take an early 13-6 lead. Kennesaw State then made its next four field-goal attempts as a Ryan Nelson three-pointer gave the Owls a 15-13 lead. North Greenville tied the game on the ensuing possession as Burgess finished a lay-up in traffic. The Crusaders would not be able to take the lead for the rest of the game.
Kennesaw State led by as many as eight points in the first half as a Ronnell Wooten lay-up gave the Owls a 37-29 lead with 2:15 remaining in the period. North Greenville cut into the lead before halftime by scoring the final five points of the half on a Victor Duck three-pointer and a pair of free throws by Jordan Richmond.
"I thought that we were in a good position at halftime, down three," said Crusader head coach Chad Lister. "We shot the ball well and that kept us in it."
The Crusaders were paced by Duck’s 11 first-half points while Kennesaw State was led by Wooten's 14.
North Greenville opened the second half with a backdoor lay-up by Jordan Richmond that cut the lead to 37-36. Kennesaw State answered with a 12-3 run over the next 4:30 that pushed the lead to ten. Eight of the 12 points came from a pair of three-points and two free throws by the Owls’ Ingle.
North Greenville answered back with a 13-3 run over the next 4:15, capped by a Richmond offensive rebound and lay-up, to knot the score at 52-52.
The teams traded baskets for the next seven minutes as Kennesaw State tried to pull away. Three-point baskets by Richmond and Duck cut the lead to two on two different occasions during that stretch. A Schumacher three-pointer with 4:28 remaining brought the Crusaders to within two for the fourth time in the half at 66-64.
Kennesaw State kept their composure, ripping off a 9-0 run over the next 3:20, capped by a free throw from Brent Ragsdale, and giving the Owls a 75-64 lead. Another Richmond three-pointer cut the lead to eight, but Kennesaw State closed out the game making five of six free throws and scoring a breakaway dunk.
"Despite the loss, I think that we got better tonight," added Lister. "Granted, we turned the ball over way too much, but I think our guys learned what needs to be done in the face of pressure, and how to battle constantly throughout a game. Those are two things we will need when the regular season begins."
Ragsdale scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Wooten finished the game with 15, and Nelson scored 14 for the Owls.
Duck’s 17 points and seven assists led North Greenville. Also scoring in double-figures for the Crusaders was Richmond (13) and Burgess (12).
North Greenville opens its regular season schedule with a home game against Tusculum College on Tuesday night at Hayes Gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30.