The Georgia Northwestern Bobcats rallied back from double digit deficits in both halves Monday night against visiting Southern Crescent Technical College.
Both times, they got within two points of tying the game, but both times they failed to get over the hump as the Tigers from Griffin used a 13-5 run over the final 3:50 of the game to finally put away the home team, 69-59.
The loss dropped the Bobcats back to .500 (4-4) as they go into the three-week holiday break.
Southern Crescent scored the game's first 13 points before sophomore Daniel Parrish finally broke the drought with a 3-pointer at the 13:49 mark. The Tigers would take their biggest lead, 22-8, later in the half before the Bobcats began their first comeback of the night.
A Brian Griffin bucket cut the gap down to nine with 9:04 left in the first half. Some three-and-a-half minutes later, Alec Rattanaxay made a steal near midcourt and drove the floor for an athletic lay-up in traffic to cut the Tigers' lead to 28-23 with 5:48 to go.
Then with 2:25 left before intermission, Darius Floyd drained a 3-pointer from the corner to make it a one-possession game at 32-30, although the Tigers would get the final two points of the half and led by four as the two teams went to the locker room.
SCTC would open the second half by scoring the first six points to push their advantage back to 10, but the Bobcats would coming charging back again, cutting the gap down to three, 42-39, after perhaps the most exciting play of the season to date.
Following a steal, Rattanaxay quickly brought the ball up the court on a fastbreak before hitting a streaking Darrius Fugh, who was trailing on the play. Fugh would take off a step inside the free throw line, elevate high between two defenders and proceed to posterize both Tigers with a vicious one-handed slam that sent the crowd and the Bobcat bench into a towel-waving frenzy.
However, the momentum was quickly squashed as SCTC answered with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to six and the lead would remain at six, 52-46, after two free throws by Marquel Dixon with 6:14 to go.
Once again, as they have done on several occasions this season, the Bobcats refused to give in.
Parrish answered with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead down to 56-54 with 5:14 left. The Bobcat captain then made a great hustle play on the defensive end to knock the ball free and throw it off a Tiger player to get the ball back for his team.
But the chance to tie the game never materialized as the Bobcats turned the ball over without getting off a shot.
And the Tigers made them pay.
A 7-0 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Antione Greshman, pushed the lead back to nine with 2:43 to go. Fugh rocked the rim again 24 seconds later as he threw down an alley-oop pass from Rattanaxay, but the Tigers would score the next four points to keep Georgia Northwestern at arm's length.
Parrish would connect on one more trey with 1:13 to go, but it would be the last points for the game for the Bobcats as the Tigers hit two additional free throws down the stretch to lead the W.
"I was hoping we'd have at least three wins going into the break, but we ended up with four so I'll take it," head coach David Stephenson said. "I thought we played very well tonight, except for the first five minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second half. Our free throw shooting wasn't what it has been and we got outrebounded and those two things contributed to the loss.
"But this is a team that beat us twice last year by at least 30 both times, so I'm alright with this one. The ball bounces a couple of different times tonight, it might be a different game."
Gresham had 15 points to lead the Tigers, followed by Quasean Harris with 11 and Stevantae Cromer with 10.
Fugh and Parrish tied for team and game-high honors with 17 points each for the Bobcats, while Rattanaxay had eight points and seven assists. Griffin chipped in with seven points.
After making 19 of 22 free throw attempts in Saturday's win over Georgia Gwinnett College, the Bobcats were just 9 of 17 on Monday.
Georgia Northwestern will begin 2017 in Temple Terrace, Fla. in the Florida College Invitational. They will open on Jan. 6 against the College of the Bahamas and conclude against the host team on Jan. 7.