SGT men stay red-hot, win wild opener of ATC Classic; Darton women cruise

South Georgia Tech center Octavius Green, left, came up huge for the Jets in their fifth straight win Friday with 16 points and 13 rebounds. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

South Georgia Tech center Octavius Green, left, came up huge for the Jets in their fifth straight win Friday with 16 points and 13 rebounds. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — A two-week break over the holidays left South Georgia Tech’s defense in a coma, but the Jets’ offense didn’t appear to be suffering any ill effects Friday in their opener of the 2012 Albany Tech Holiday Classic at the Civic Center.

SGT trailed nearly the entire first half and the opening eight minutes of the second half before the Jets’ outgunned Alabama Southern Community College, 104-100, to improve to 13-1 on the season. It was SGT’s fifth win in a row.

“We’ve won a lot of games in the last couple of minutes,” Jets head coach Steven Wright said. “It’s the first game after Christmas, and we’re rusty. We’re certainly out of shape. They took it to us. We were just able to make a couple more plays and survive down the stretch.”

The Eagles led or were tied with SGT until Stedmon Lemon slammed home an alley-oop from Houston Cabbell with 11:51 to play to give SGT a 73-71 lead. Lemon, who was saddled with two fouls in the first half and didn’t score, had a monster second half and finished with 18 points.

Alabama Southern tied the game a 91-91 with 2:08 remaining on Orlando Coleman’s driving layup and free throw to complete a three-point play. Coleman scored 31 points and had 16 rebounds and gave the Jets’ defense fits.

“The defense was terrible,” Wright said. “Communication was very poor, but we’ll take a ‘W’ any way we can it. At the end of the day, they don’t ask you how, they just ask you how many.”

The Jets’ offense had no problem with the “how many” part, scoring over the century mark for the fourth time this season.

“They ran the floor on us and got in the paint and scored,” said Jets center Octavius Green, who scored 16 points to go along with 13 rebounds and is second in the nation in rebounds per game. “Just execution and getting quality stops (was the key in the second half). We just dug deep to get the win.”

Jacob Obande scored 21 for the Jets and hit five free throws in the final 45 seconds to build a 102-98 lead before Coleman tipped in a miss for Alabama Southern and Obande clanked two foul shots on the other end with four seconds to play, clinging to a 102-100 SGT lead.

On the final Eagles’ possession, Craig Wilcox lost control of a pass and turned it over without getting off a shot to tie or win the game at the buzzer. Alabama Southern had 23 turnovers to SGT’s 14.

The Jets’ high-powered offense had five players score in double figures and shot 49 percent from the field. Anthony Etheridge scored 21 in the win, while B.J. Davis added 15.

SGT returns to the Holiday Classic at the Civic Center today at 4 p.m. to take on Middle Georgia Tech.

DARTON WOMEN 77, ASA (N.Y.) COLLEGE 63: Darton put away ASA College from Brooklyn, N.Y. in the second half thanks to 22 points from Michelle Mitchell and a career-high 17 rebounds from Kadayasha Jones.

Darton (13-2) led nearly the entire way and built a 47-34 lead in the second half on a 3-pointer from Jasmine Wilson with 14:34 left, its largest lead of the game. The Lady Avengers (10-2) cut it to 61-52 with 4:52 to play on Jade Wharton’s driving lay-in, but the Lady Cavs answered with a 7-0 run in the next 2:32 to put the game away.

ASA’s Sashana Bucknor kept the Lady Avengers in the game throughout with 14 points and 14 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. Darton still controlled the paint with a 57-36 rebounding edge.

“We weren’t putting a body on (Bucknor),” said Jones, who finished with 10 points to go with her game-high 17 boards. “We’re a good rebounding team, but when we don’t, things usually don’t go well for us.”

Darton led, 32-25, at the half and shot 54 percent from the floor in the second half, while holding ASA to a 34 percent clip for the game. The Lady Cavs, however, went 11-for-28 from the foul line.

Iesha Bonner added 13 points and 10 boards for Darton, and Jasmine Wilson chipped in nine points and 10 assists. Shaquita Smith led ASA with 16 points. The Lady Cavs will next face Middle Georgia Tech today at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center.

ATC WOMEN 52, MIDDLE GEORGIA TECH 45: The Lady Titans (9-7, 2-5) won their opener of the Albany Tech Holiday Classic on Friday at the Civic Center, although they got the victory without any player scoring in double figures. Gabrielle Christopher led the way with nine points.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win --- so we'll take it," ATC women's coach Kenneth Williams said. "We're going to have to shoot a whole lot better (today) to win again, though."

ATC's second game of the Classic will be today at 6 p.m. against Alabama Southern.

ATC MEN 66, MIDDLE GEORGIA TECH 56: The Titans (3-11) opened with a win against Middle Georgia Tech late Friday night thanks to 15 points from leading scorer Antwan Tuff and a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) from Lorenzo Smith.

ATC snapped an eight-game losing streak in the process and will go for two in a row today at 8 p.m. at the Civic Center against Alabama Southern.