01/28/09 — Bulldawgs' defense clamps down on Eagles' offense

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Bulldawgs' defense clamps down on Eagles' offense

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on January 28, 2009 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- No win is perfect.

Then again, some come closer than others.

Princeton seized control from the opening tap and dominated Class 1-A Carolina Conference archrival Rosewood 50-25 on Tuesday evening.

The Eagles' Cody Harris buried the game's opening shot from beyond the arc. The momentum quickly subsided as the Bulldogs' interior defense stiffened and the Eagles went cold.

"I thought we played our best game of the season tonight," said Princeton head coach Jeff Davis. "We had a few second-half lapses on defense, but any time you hold a team to 25 points you've done a good job overall."

Two minutes into the first quarter, the Dawgs erupted for a 20-3 run that spanned 12 minutes and ended in a 24-7 halftime advantage.

Rosewood went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal in that stretch.

"We took way too many jump shots and we didn't make hardly any," said Eagles head coach Daniel Mitchell. "When you attempt 17 three-point shots and you make one, that's not going to get it done."

The third quarter was more of the same for the Dawgs who forced the tempo on defense and relied on their two biggest guns on the offensive end.

Andre Nixon and David Gurganus did not disappoint.

Gurganus finished two drives to the basket with buckets that turned into three-point plays. Nixon powered the ball up on multiple plays under the hoop and pulled down four rebounds in the quarter.

"The last two games, Andre has been a totally different player," said Davis. "We watched a tape of a University of North Carolina game from earlier in the year. I think watching that made it sink in for him ... go up strong and good things happen."

Nixon finished with a career-high 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Gurganus added 17 points and dished out nine assists.

James Harris led the Eagles' attack with eight points and seven rebounds. Jacquez Raynor added seven points and seven boards.

"We told James at the half not to settle for jumpers and to go at the basket," said Mitchell. "He responded with eight points in the second half and played more aggressive."

The Bulldogs (8-11 overall, 2-3 Carolina) stayed within the playoff chase.

"Tonight was a game we needed to win, more than just because of the rivalry, but for the conference standings," said Davis. "We want to finish in the top three, and to do that we have to stay ahead of Rosewood and we have to beat Spring Creek on Friday."

The Eagles (4-11) fell to 1-3 in the conference.

"We don't have time to dwell on tonight's game," said Mitchell. "We have to go to Spring Creek and come out ready to play."

Rosewood visits Spring Creek today.