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Titans pull off upset of No. 21 Coastal Ga.


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Albany Tech coach Sylvester Patterson calls the win "the biggest" in the program’s two-year history

After upsetting 21st-ranked Coastal Georgia, 90-85, on Wednesday night, the Albany Tech Titans’ excitement could hardly be contained until they reached the locker room.

“It was big,” Albany Tech coach Sylvester Patterson said after his team won its NJCAA Region XVII opener. “It was big for the guys. Once they got in the locker room, they just let it all out. To go on the road and beat one of the best teams in the country, that’s big.”

Patterson went one step further in describing his team’s victory.

“It’s the biggest win for the program,” he added. “Playing on the road against the 21st-ranked team in the NJCAA that only had one loss and averaged 98 points per game, and holding them 13 points below that average is a huge statement.”

After falling one game short of a winning record in their inaugural season, the Titans (13-4) only need to win three more victories to secure that winning record this year.

Five Albany Tech players scored in double figures Wednesday, and three were close to recording double-doubles. Otavious Pierce had 19 points and eight rebounds, followed by Demarcus Blunt (12 points, eight rebounds and assists), Dejuan Shannon (12 points, seven assists), Marcus Jackson (13 points, six rebounds) and Truett O’Neal (10 points, eight rebounds).

The Titans’ Channing Hudson put the game away with six seconds left by making two free throws.

“He shoots 80 percent from the line,” Patterson said of Hudson. “(Coastal Georgia’s) coach had a technical foul called on him earlier in the game and Channing missed a free throw. I gave him a hard time about that and then he made those ones at the end.”

Albany Tech’s inside presence, however, was the difference as it wore Coastal Georgia down. O’Neal and Pierce are both 6-foot-5, and Jackson is 6-8.

“The big guys just stepped up,” Patterson said of the game that was tied, 47-47, at halftime. “They said Coastal Georgia was reading (The Herald’s article about Albany Tech’s inside presence) before the game and I just told them that this was their chance to prove that they are the best big men in the league, and they did.”

Keeping players well conditioned was the key.

“I tried to rotate our big men out every three minutes to keep them fresh,” Patterson added. “Everybody came in and gave good minutes. Otavious not only rebounded the ball well, he was 8-of-8 from the foul line.”

Blunt, after switching with Shannon to the point guard position late in the game, then took control while the matchup’s style grew more physical.

“He just controlled the game,” Pattterson said. “He had a couple of four-year colleges looking at him and he ran the show at the end. We moved Demarcus to point guard because he could make plays better while in contact.”

After Albany Tech had an eight-point lead (61-53) with eight minutes left, Coastal Georgia played its way back into the game. Coastal Georgia, however, only was 4-of-18 from beyond the arc.

Albany Tech plays at Atlanta Metro at 7 p.m. Friday.


By, SCOTT CHANCEY




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