Irby drains 3-pointer as time expires
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 28, 2007 3:28 PM
KINSTON -- Demetrio Irby's no stranger to hitting game-winning shots, but he was quick to admit his heroics on Thursday rank at the top of his list.
Irby's 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Goldsboro to a thrilling 62-59 win over St. James (S.C.) in the first round of the 7th annual Holiday Classic at Lenoir Community College.
The Cougars face Durham Hillside at 8:30 p.m. in today's semifinals.
After Irby missed a pair of free throws with 28.5 seconds remaining and Goldsboro leading 59-57, Devan Williams' layup tied the game at 59-59 for St. James.
Following a Goldsboro timeout, Irby raced to the left of the 3-point arc, received the inbounds pass and released a deep shot that just beat the horn and sent his teammates spilling onto the floor.
"When I shot it in my mind I knew I could make it," said Irby who hit a pair of game-winners as a freshman. "When it was in the air I knew it was going in. We practice that play every day in practice and it's gone in once."
The Cougars took a 43-39 lead into the fourth before St. James went ahead 51-49 on Brandon Tyson's layup with just over five minutes left. The lead would change hands eight more times, ending with Irby's deep 3-pointer that gave Goldsboro (7-4 overall) its first win this season over a team that doesn't call Wayne County home.
"Usually the inbounder is the guy left open, so I thought Irby might be the guy, but I didn't think he would shoot it from that deep," Cougars head coach Tod Morgan said. "St. James didn't go away and it seemed like we never could get that defensive stop when we needed it. They would tie it or take the lead."
Goldsboro led 34-27 after one half but the Cougars' inability to turn St. James' turnovers into points helped the Sharks go on an 8-2 run to trim the lead to 36-35.
Tim Hobbs and Keovanta McDuffie combined to score 10 of Goldsboro's 18 second-quarter points as the pair hit numerous big shots throughout the contest. Hobbs' fall-away jumper in the lane late in the second quarter pushed to the Cougars' lead to 32-23.
"Tim got some big stickbacks and Keovanta is real good off the dribble," Morgan said. "I like him anytime he's aggressive and attacking. I think something good is going to happen."
McDuffie finished with a game-high 20 points and Hobbs added 13. Doshamora Simms added nine points before leaving with what Morgan described as a high-ankle injury that included a popping sound when it occurred. Irby pitched in five points.
Mike Hall paced the Sharks (7-5) with 18 points.
St. James 15 12 12 16 -- 59
Goldsboro 16 18 9 19 -- 62
ST. JAMES (7-5)
Skylar Brown 1 0 0-0 2, Brandon Tyson 4 0 1-2 9, Mike Hall 9 0 0-0 18, Kevin Johnson 0 0 1-2 1, Brandon Atkinson 7 0 0-0 14, Colby Thomas 1 0 0-0 2, Devan Williams 5 0 3-5 11. TOTALS -- 27 0 5-9 59.
Keovanta McDuffie 8 0 4-4 20, Donald Lewis 0 0 2-2 2, Tavan Murchinson 3 0 0-1 6, Cortez Sprangle 0 0 0-2 0, Doshamora Simms 3 0 3-4 9, Demetrio Irby 1 1 0-0 5, Tim Hobbs 6 0 1-5 13, Aric Sinclair 1 0 2-2 4, James Williams 1 0 0-0 2, Carlos Atkinson 0 0 1-2 1. TOTALS -- 23 1 13-22 62.
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