Athens delivered a stellar performance when it upset Meigs 61-46 Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (5-12 4-5 Tri-Valley Conference) opened the game with a strong offensive attack. They buried their first two 3-pointers of the game and added a layup in transition to give themselves a 8-3 lead. The Marauders (9-6 5-3 TVC) didn't make things easy, though. They stormed back with a 9-2 run and took a 12-10 lead going into the second quarter.
After a pair of lead changes, the Bulldogs went on one of their biggest scoring runs of the game. A 13-0 run tipped the scales in the Bulldogs' favor and brought the score up to 26-14.
Athens coach Mickey Cozart said the run could not have happened without success on both sides of the ball.
"(The) defense was the key, and we hit shots," Cozart said.
Athens didn't look back for the rest of the half. It only allowed Meigs one field goal before closing the half with four points to make the score 30-17. Athens carried that same energy into the second half and held off Meigs with a 8-0 scoring run right after halftime.
The fast start to the second half boosted the Bulldogs over the Marauders.
"We've had really good first halves this year," Cozart said. "But we come out in third quarter, and we don't play very good. That was very much on our minds (in the second half), and I thought the guys responded well tonight."
The 8-0 run gave the Bulldogs a 21-point lead, their largest of the night. Every push from Marauders was countered by the Bulldogs. They didn't let their opponents cut into the lead. Nathan Shadick's season-high 24 points helped keep the Marauders at arm's length and allowed the Bulldogs to keep their lead.
Coach Cozart had high praise for Shadick after the game.
"He is just getting better and better," Cozart said. "I mean, as his confidence grows, he's gonna be a force in this league. He's only a junior. I look for him to have a big senior year."
After a long series of free throws to close the game, the Bulldogs earned one of their most dominant wins of the year. They have now won two games in a row, and Cozart believes the team has hit a turning point.
"We're starting to get it," Cozart said. "Since the break, we've played pretty good basketball. We have just not put four quarters together, and we put four quarters together tonight."