Tigerville, SC – Despite shooting 44.3% from the floor, the North Greenville University men’s basketball team dropped a one-point decision to the Canes of Georgia Southwestern 68-67 on Friday night in Hayes Gymnasium.
The Crusaders and Canes kept it close for much of the first half, with Georgia Southwestern gaining its biggest lead of seven points with 13:18 left in the first half. The Crusaders battled back to take a late one-point lead before a three-pointer from the Canes made the half time score 33-32 in favor of Georgia Southwestern.
North Greenville opened the second half with back-to-back buckets from Phillip Brown and Chris Dean to claim the lead just two minutes into the half. The Crusaders would build their lead to as big as five points with 10:36 remaining before a short 6-0 run by the Canes put them back on top.
The game continued to be neck-and-neck as neither team went ahead by more than six points at any time in the final five minutes of play.
After the 9th tie of the game, two clutch free throws by Keith Johnson put the Crusaders ahead by two with 40 seconds on the clock before a three-pointer by the Canes with 25 seconds remaining sealed the deal. The Crusaders had a chance as time expired, but a contested layup bounced off of the rim to give Georgia Southwestern the victory.
Brown led the Crusaders with a double-double to open the season, scoring 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting, while pulling down 14 boards and handing out four assists. Dean was North Greenville’s leading scorer with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting and nine rebounds as Johnson (11 points) and Micah Parker (10 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Crusaders.
North Greenville (0-1, 0-0 Conference Carolinas) will host North Georgia tomorrow, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Tigerville as the Conference Carolinas/Peach Belt Challenge comes to a close.