Tigerville – Paul Harrison scored 24 points, 17 in the second half, and Zach Babbitt scored 20 as North Greenville (12-16) exploded to 55 second half points to defeat Pensacola Christian 99-81 in the first round of the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) South Regional Tournament at Hayes Gym on the NGU campus.
NGU, which hadn’t played a game in over two weeks, opened the game a bit rusty and PCC jumped out to a 21-12 lead with 13:18 left. Casey Christian scored 12 of the Eagles’ first 21 points. Harrison and Tyler Mains keyed a 12-2 NGU run and Babbitt hit a layup and free throw with 9:48 left to give NGU its first lead of the game. North Greenville powered up its offense, but still led by a slim 44-42 margin at the half.
Christian, who led Pensacola with 19 points, scored eight more points in the first three and a half minutes of the second half to keep the Eagles close to the streaking Crusaders. However, PCC got into foul trouble and NGU dominated the inside game with Harrison, Babbitt, and Kyler Vitko scoring repeatedly in the paint. Vitko backed Harrison and Babbitt with 13 points. Harrison also hauled down 12 rebounds for his ninth double double of the season. The Crusaders also had Jonathan Bozymowski score 11 points, and T.J. Resper came off the bench to score a season high 11 points.
NGU out-rebounded the Eagles 41-28 and shot a sizzling 57.6% on 38-66 from the field.
North Greenville will next play #1 seed Emmanuel College of Georgia at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night at Hayes Gym. That contest will be preceded by Chowan College of North Carolina taking on Palm Beach Atlantic at 5:00 p.m.