The Georgia Northwestern Bobcats rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half to score a 68-64 home victory over Southern States Community College (Ohio) Saturday at the Rossville Athletic Center.
The visiting Patriots took a 34-30 advantage after a first half that saw six total lead changes. Southern States would then open the second half on an 11-4 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 45-34, with just over 13 minutes remaining.
However, the Bobcats would bear their claws and get back into the game.
A 20-6 run would be highlighted by three big 3-pointers. Jeremy Wilson beat the shot clock buzzer with a long three and Mark Chester would launch a three-ball from the corner with 9:30 remaining to cut the lead down to one. Then, with just over 7:30 remaining, Kannen Derryberry hit his own shot clock buzzer-beating three to finally pull Georgia Northwestern even at 51 apiece.
The go-ahead basket would be one of the most spectacular plays of the night as Jarret Gill fed J.T. Langford with a backdoor pass that Langford turned into a baseline dunk that brought the bench and the crowd to its feet. Langford was also fouled on the play and hit the ensuing free throw to give the Bobcats a 54-51 lead with 6:51 remaining.
Justin Smith's coast-to-coast lay-up with 4:47 left to play put the Bobcats ahead 56-54 and the Bobcats would go 7-of-10 from the free throw line over the next four minutes as they maintained a narrow lead, 63-60, as the clock showed one minute left to play.
Dylan Sino would get a steal and a lay-up for the Patriots with 36 seconds left to cut the lead to one. Jayce Harris would get a huge tip-in for the Bobcats with 24 seconds left, but his bucket was answered by a 3-pointer from Bruelle Thompson with 19 seconds to go that cut Georgia Northwestern's lead down to 65-64 with 19 seconds remaining.
Wilson would hit one of two free throws with 15 seconds to go to push the lead back to two, but with the Bobcats in a full court press, Harris came up with the biggest defensive play of the night as he went high in the air to steal a pass at mid-court. He then found Wilson streaking to the basket for an uncontested lay-up with six seconds left to seal the four-point victory.
It was one of 13 total steals for Georgia Northwestern on the night.
Wilson had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Bobcats, while Harris added 14 points. Langford came through with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Derryberry and Cole McKeehan each hit three 3-pointers to account four nine points each. Five from Chester and two by Smith would round out the scoring.
The Bobcats (2-3) will head to Athens, Tenn. this Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game against the Tennessee Wesleyan University junior varsity team.