Tigerville, SC –Senior Keith Johnson provided the clutch factor in both regulation and overtime as he buried a jumper with one second on the clock to lead the Crusaders to an 85-84 victory over Belmont Abbey in Conference Carolinas action on Wednesday night.
The first half of action saw each team trade baskets for much of the period as the scoreboard showed seven ties until North Greenville was able to pull away with a 16-5 run over the final five minutes to gain the 38-27 edge at intermission.
North Greenville was able to hold the lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half until Belmont used an 11-0 run to take a one-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The two teams continued to trade baskets with Belmont Abbey holding the lead late in the half thanks to eight consecutive free throws in the final two minutes of the half. However, two free throws by junior Patrick George pulled the Crusaders within three points until a three-pointer from Johnson as the clock ran out sent the contest into overtime.
North Greenville built a six point lead in extra time before Belmont Abbey was able to tie the game for the 12th time on a jumper by Drexler Clark with 28 seconds left on the game clock.
Johnson knocked in one of two free throw attempts to give North Greenville a one-point lead until Ryan Conrad buried a short jumper to put Belmont Abbey ahead with just nine seconds left.
The Crusaders put the ball in Johnson’s hands as he drove down the court and netted the game-winning jumper to clinch the one-point victory for North Greenville.
North Greenville shot 50 percent from the floor as a team, including 7-for-8 from the field in overtime, while hold Belmont Abbey to just 39.1 percent shooting in the contest.
Johnson led the way with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting and nine rebounds, while junior Micah Parker had a quiet 17-point performance on 7-for-14 shooting from the floor and six rebounds. Junior big man Phillip Brown record his second double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks in 40 minutes of action. Senior Chris Dean and freshman Thomas Horn were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively, while George led all players with seven assists on the night.
North Greenville (3-2, 1-0 Conference Carolinas) will compete in the Lees McRae Classic this weekend beginning with a Nov. 22 matchup with Bluefield State College at 5 pm in Banner Elk, NC.