Tigerville, S.C.—Three Crusaders scored in double figures, and NGU’s bench provided a much needed offensive boost as North Greenville ended the 2013 with a 78-76 win over Southern Wesleyan, Saturday afternoon in Hayes Gymnasium.
North Greenville’s bench outscored the SWU bench 22-6 on Saturday, led by Tierra Richberg who finished the day with 11 points. Aliyah Stokes also provided a lift for the struggling Crusaders with six points, all coming from beyond the three point arch. NGU shot just 39% from the field in the first half, but improved in the second shooting at a 51.6% clip.
North Greenville trailed for the opening minutes of the game, but took an 8-6 advantage with 15:57 left in the opening period. The Crusaders would lead by as many 10 during the half, but the Warriors would battle back to take a 36-35 lead. The two teams would trade the lead once more during the frame, but NGU as NGU would take a 37-36 lead into intermission.
Both teams struggled holding onto the ball in the first half of play, turning over possession 13 times each during the first period. NGU would turn the 8 SWU turnovers into 12 points. Southern Wesleyan would take a quick 38-37 lead to open the second half scoring, but the Crusaders would quickly respond as Timisty Nelson would give NGU a 39-38 lead. NGU would hold serve for the remainder of the game.
The Crusaders would lead for the remainder of the game, but SWU would continue to fight. The Crusaders nursed an 8 point advantage with 4:07 left in the game, as the Warriors embarked on a 12-6 run to pull to within two of North Greenville, leaving just 1:02 left on the game clock. The Crusaders would turn the ball over three times in the final two minutes of play to aid the Southern Wesleyan comeback attempt, including a jump ball that gave the Warriors possession with 25 seconds left to play. The Warriors would look for the win in the final ten seconds, but a three-pointer in the final second of the game would sail long, ensuring NGU its fourth win of the 2013-2014 season.
Pacing the Crusaders during Saturday’s win was Alisha Hope who accounted for 21 points. Timisty Nelson was one short of Hope, scoring 20 points. Jaquazha Barrino finished the day with 15 points while Tierra Richberg finished a rebound shy of a double-double, collecting 9 to lead North Greenville. Hope was also 5-6 from the charity stripe while Richberg finished 3-3.
NGU finished the 2013 portion of the schedule with a 4-6 mark, winning its final three games. The Crusaders will return from Christmas break on January 4th, when they travel to Due West, South Carolina to take on Erskine in a Conference Carolinas showdown.