By Chris Whitaker
The Americus Times-Recorder
DAHLONEGA - Chris Rawls and Evan Mobley each scored 18 points, but the Hurricanes couldn't get closer than two in the final minute in a loss at North Georgia.
"They made a couple of plays down the stretch and made free throws," said coach Mike Leeder. "We just couldn't get the one big stop in the last two minutes of the game."
Rawls and Mobley played 39 and 37 minutes while only Bernard Rimmer eclipsed 30 minutes for the Saints. Rimmer scored 18 to lead North Georgia (10-6, 5-1).
The Hurricanes (5-11, 1-5) led by as many as eight in the first half when the Saints went on a 12-2 run. Mobley's 44-foot 3-pointer as time expired banked in to get GSW a 31-30 lead at intermission.
"They jumped into a zone, and we didn't attack it very well," said Leeder. "We had a little bit of difficulty recognizing the changing defenses. They're good, and they were going to make a run. They caught us with that spurt."
North Georgia shot 54 percent in the second half, but Leeder said the Hurricanes have played their best defense across a three-game span since he became the coach.
"We've given great effort the last three games," he said. "We've held teams in the 60s, and that's what we've got to have it in. To go on the road and have a chance in the last two minutes is all you can ask. We are playing much harder and playing much better.
"I hope we keep playing this hard. I'm disappointed for them, but not disappointed in them. It was a good college basketball game."
The Hurricanes made 11 of 21 free throws, and Leeder said that's an area of concern, especially in conference games on the road.
Andrew Bennett and Michael Moynihan had 12 and 10 points for the Saints.
With the next eight of nine games at home, Leeder hopes GSW can make a run in the standings.
"Hopefully, we'll play well at home," said Leeder. "I'd like us to come up with an effort to defend our home floor, but we'll line up on saturday and not worry about that, and hopefully give the same effort then."