DUE WEST, S.C. – Zez Steeple had 26 points, including seven three-pointers, as the University of North Georgia men’s basketball team opened the Dan Evans era and the 2019-20 season with a 77-70 win over North Greenville in the Peach Belt / Conference Carolinas Challenge.

Steeple started the game 5-for-5 from beyond the arc to give the Nighthawks as much as a nine-point lead in the first half, but the Crusaders fought back into the game, cutting it to one before halftime.

North Greenville came out hot in the second half, taking their first lead of the game since 2-0 on the first basket of the game and stretching it to five early in the half before UNG stormed back, retaking the lead and holding on late to clinch the opening win.

– Ephraim Tshimanga also finished with a 20-point night, going 9-for-15 from the floor. Zach Brown finished one board shy of a double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds in his UNG debut.

– The Nighthawks shot 11-for-26 from behind the arc in the game.

– North Georgia has won three of their last four season openers.

A quick turnaround for the Nighthawks sees them take on Erskine tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m.