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Georgetown College men's basketball opened the Chris Briggs era in style Monday evening. In keeping with tradition, the Tigers tangled with a lofty opponent in an exhibition game - the UK All-Stars.
Another custom was upheld as the team did very well against eight current or recently drafted NBA players. In the end, though, the shooting of Kenneth Faried (32 points) and Jodie Meeks (30 points) was too much in the 122-105 loss.
The Tigers were the first team in this all-star exhibition game series to break 100 and the 17-point deficit is also the narrowest margin of victory for UK.
The majority of the first half, GC either led or trailed by no more than a basket. Then despite trailing by double-digits for much of the second 20 minutes, put together a late rally (11-2 run) for a 99-90 game.
After UK broke the century mark on Meeks free throws, Tyrone Shelley shot the Tigers over 100 with a three-pointer from the wing. The senior guard finished with 28 points, while Allen Thomas' chipped in with 20.
In the past, Georgetown has done battle with University of Louisville, University of Florida and University of Pittsburgh for preseason exhibition games. The UofL series, minus one game, has always come down to the wire and the Tigers took Pitt to the buzzer in their lone meeting.
Monday evening in Mason County, it was Jeff Sheppard's UK All-Stars - Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics), Meeks (Philadelphia 76er), Josh Harrellson (New York Knicks), Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Shelvin Mack (Washington Wizards) and DeAndre Liggins (Orlando Magic), doing battle with the Orange & Black.
Briggs was excited for his first game as head coach, but more importantly ready to see how his team would do against some of the best players in the world.
With about eight minutes before halftime, the Tigers took a four-point lead off a Thomas lay-in.
However, following a media time out, Big Blue came to life. A 10-0 swing gave UK the largest lead of the game, but GC continued to hang around that two possession game until right before halftime. The All-Stars made a run for a 55-38 advantage with under a minute to play. Briggs took a timeout to refocus his guys.
Coming out of the break, Thomas and Geral Craig helped the Tigers to a 6-2 for a 57-44 halftime score.
GC did not fade away in the second half either. Both teams began to put on an offensive display. While Georgetown never got closer than nine points, the Tigers did put up 61 in the second half. UK scored 65.
While the fans were out to see some Big Blue favorites, home town hero Russ Middleton got a nice round of applause on his introduction. Then with the game knotted at five, the junior hit a three-pointer that ignited the cheers as Georgetown led 8-5.