Second-Half Rally Propels Trojans Past North Georgia

Box Score

ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson men’s basketball team rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to defeat Peach Belt foe North Georgia, 83-80, Tuesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.  

Coming off an impressive win past No. 11 Montevallo three nights ago, Anderson (2-1) won for the 15th time in the last 18 outings dating back to last February and handed North Georgia (3-1) its first setback of the season.

Four players reached double figures for the Trojans, led by senior guard Denzail Jones’ 25 points. Junior guard Chandler Hash added 15 points, while connecting on 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Senior forward Bo Holston tossed in 14 points, with guard CJ Gleaton netting 12. Junior forward Kyle Sledge chipped in seven points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds in 23 minutes of action off the bench.

Junior guard Lamar Richardson led the Saints with a season-high 23 points, while junior Ishmael Hollis added 16 points. Junior guard Chris Tanzy handed out a game-high five assists.  

The Trojans opened the game by misfiring on five of their first six shots, while North Georgia capitalized on a pair of 3-pointers from Hollis and three free throws from Richardson to open an 11-3 lead with just more than two minutes gone.

Gleaton halted the Trojan drought with back-to-back jumpers to spark a 10-3 run that pulled Anderson within 14-13, as sophomore Chris Ross added a traditional three-point play and Holston capped the outburst with a short jumper.     

Following a free throw by the Saints’ Corey Green, Hash gave the Trojans their first lead of the game with a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, but Green responded on the other end with a layup to give the Saints a brief 17-16 edge. Jones answered with an acrobatic layup to regain a brief 18-17 lead for Anderson with 12:56 left in the half, but North Georgia reeled off 11 unanswered points as part of a 26-9 run that gave the Saints a 44-27 advantage with 1:08 left in the half. 

On the strength of 9-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc in the opening half, North Georgia held a 46-31 lead at intermission.
Following a steal and layup by the Saints’ Travis Core that gave North Georgia a 68-55 edge with 9:03 on the clock, the Trojans began chipping away at the deficit.

Holston sparked the rally with an offensive rebound and basket then swiped the ball and Jones followed with a driving layup that trimmed the Saints lead to single digits. Two minutes later, sophomore DJ McGowan drained a trey from deep in the left corner that capped an 11-2 rally and cut the deficit to 71-66 with 5:52 remaining. Holston’s traditional three-point play pulled AU within 73-69.

Richardson answered with a 3-pointer for North Georgia, but Jones countered with an old-fashioned three-point play, then swiped the ball on the ensuing Saints possession and fed a streaking Holston for the lay-in that pulled AU to within 76-74 with less than four minutes left.

Trailing, 78-74, Sledge dropped in a putback off a Jones miss and following a jumper by North Georgia’s Tanzy, the Trojans scored the final eight points of the contest. Hash connected on a trey from deep in the left corner and two free throws from Gleaton with 56 seconds on the clock gave Anderson its first lead, 81-80, since the 12:56 mark of the first half.

Jones added a pair of free throws with 36.4 ticks left and North Georgia called a 30-second timeout with 17.8 seconds left. Tanzy was unable to connect on a potential tying 3-pointer with 13 seconds on the clock and AU grabbed the rebound, but was whistled for being out of bounds with 6.1 remaining, giving the Saints one last opportunity to send the game into overtime. But Richardson was unable to convert and Sledge collected the rebound.   

The Trojans have a seven-day layoff over the Thanksgiving Holiday before resuming their season-opening five-game homestand by playing host to Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the conference opener for both teams.

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