For a little more than a half, the young, freshman-dominated Georgia Northwestern Bobcats were standing to toe-to-toe with an older, more experienced and very athletic West Georgia Tech squad.
But a cold-shooting second half, including one long dry spell in particular, would prove to be their undoing on Saturday.
The Bobcats managed just 22 points in the final 20 minutes and the visiting Golden Knights pulled away to win the game against former region rivals, 73-51, at the Rossville Athletic Center.
Georgia Northwestern (2-3) led early on by a small margin, but the Knights would battle back to gain the 36-29 lead at halftime.
Their lead was down to a five at 38-33 three minutes into the second half when the drought began. Save for three free throws, Georgia Northwestern would not get a basket to drop until there was 9:27 left in the game when Jay Wideman hit a three.
In between, the Knights would get back-to-back 3-pointers from Justin Brown and Isaiah Greer to jump-start a decisive 16-3 run. Wideman's triple finally broke the drought, but not before the visitors from Carrollton had mushroomed the lead to 54-36.
Two straight baskets by Bryce Waters would whittle the gap down to a dozen points, but the Bobcats would get no closer as the Knights slowed pulled away down the stretch.
Three players scored in double figures for West Georgia Tech (3-2), led by San Rozier's 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Joe Boyer went for 14 points, while Greer came off the bench to score 12.
Waters had 12 points and seven rebounds to pace the Bobcats, while Tyler Phillips collected 11 points. Micah Wheeler was next on the list with six, followed by Deontae Jackson with five.
"We just don't have the guys yet with the experience to have the mental discipline to carry out the game plan for 40 minutes," head coach David Stephenson said. "Against a team like (West Georgia Tech), you have to that for 40 minutes. Tonight, we did what we had to do for about 25 of those 40 minutes. But until we grow up and do better at that, it's going to be tough in games against teams like this one."
Georgia Northwestern will play their next four games on the road, beginning this coming Friday night at Southern Crescent Tech in Griffin, Ga., starting at 7 p.m. The next home game for the Bobcats will be Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. against the Tennessee Wesleyan University junior varsity squad.
Lady Bobcats awarded forfeit
Georgia Northwestern's Lady Bobcats scored a 2-0 forfeit victory on Saturday after their scheduled opponent, Trinity College of Florida, did not arrive in Rossville for the 1 p.m. start.
The Lady Bobcats (2-0) are scheduled to play at home on Tuesday against Judson (Ala.) College. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.