Central, S.C. – North Greenville men’s basketball was on the wrong side of a heartbreaker on Saturday as the Southern Wesleyan Warriors knocked down a buzzer beating three-pointer to escape with a 63-60 win over the Crusaders.
Miguel Cartagena led North Greenville scorers with 23-points and was the only Crusader in double-figures. Roderick Howell finished the night with eight points and a team high eight rebounds while Jai Jenks added nine-points.
The Crusaders struggled from the floor in the first half shooting just 28.6 percent compared to 25.9 percent performance from the Warriors. NGU made up the different at the three-point line, hitting four of nine triples in the frame while the Warriors scored just twice from deep. North Greenville jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes but had to rally at the end of the opening 20-minutes to take a 30-24 lead into halftime. The six-point edge was the biggest lead of the day for the Crusaders.
The second half was even more competitive as the teams traded the lead 11-times. The offenses for both teams improved slightly as North Greenville improved 10-percentage points. The second half saw 11-lead changes and several more ties as neither team would give any ground while also struggling to gain any ground.
North Greenville trailed by five points with less than three minutes left but once again used a late rally to pull even with the Warriors. Miguel Cartagena would get things going with a three ball that cut the SWU lead to 58-56. Cartagena would then give NGU the lead on the team’s next possession with his second three pointer in the final two minutes to make the score 59-58.
The Warriors retook the lead with a layup on their next possession, putting North Greenville in a one point, 60-59 hole with 25-seconds left. Cartagena would knock down the back end of a free throw trip to even the score a few seconds later. North Greenville seemed to carry the momentum in the final seconds, but the Warriors, who had hit just five three-pointers during the game, used its sixth to down North Greenville as the buzzer sounded.
The loss to SWU dropped North Greenville to 6-11 overall and 1-9 in league play. The Crusaders will be back in action on January 24th when the travel to Banner Elk, North Carolina to take on Lees-McRae at 7:30pm.