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Albany Tech men beat Georgia Highlands, pick up first region victory of season

Albany Tech men's basketball coach Sylvester Patterson earned a must-win victory Wednesday night.

Albany Tech men's basketball coach Sylvester Patterson earned a must-win victory Wednesday night.

ALBANY — Albany Tech men’s basketball coach Sylvester Patterson, who started the program five years ago and has exceeded expectations each year, was able to breathe a sigh of relief Wednesday night when his Titans — who are mired in their worst season yet — earned their first Region XVII victory of 2012-13, beating Georgia Highlands, 65-63.

“Yeah ... we needed to win this one to have any chance at making the playoffs,” said Patterson, whose team was 0-7 in conference play entering the evening and was tied for last place with Highlands, which also came in winless. “The first 37 minutes we played great — we led by as many as 14 in the second half — but we didn’t finish again. And that’s what I told the guys afterward: ‘We need to finish these games. We’ve been in too many close ones this year that we lost because we couldn’t finish.”

Antwon Tuff led the Titans (5-13 overall) with 24 points, followed by eight points and six rebounds each from both Nouhoum Boucoum and Tevin Oliver.

The Lady Titans, meanwhile, lost to Highlands — the No. 1 team on the women’s side — on Thursday, 53-46, despite 10 points and eight rebounds from Shanice Williams. The Lady Titans fell to 9-9 overall and 2-6 in region with the loss.

“We played the game we wanted to, but we had some missed assignments down the stretch,” women’s coach Kenneth Williams said.

Both Albany Tech teams return to action Saturday at home against Georgia Perimeter — the second of four straight home games for the programs.