02/14/09 — Rosewood bests archrival Princeton

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Rosewood bests archrival Princeton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 14, 2009 11:22 PM

Rosewood gets to live another day.

Cody Harris drained two free throws with 14.4 seconds left and blocked an eventual game-tying 3-pointer as time expired to give the Eagles a 54-51 victory over archrival Princeton on Friday evening.

Harris finished with a game-high 19 points as Rosewood finished tied with the Dawgs for fourth place in Class 1-A Carolina Conference regular-season play. The teams will settle the tiebreaker -- and fourth playoff spot -- Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the league tournament at Spring Creek.

Tip-off is 6 p.m. in Seven Springs.

The Eagles (6-15, 3-7 Carolina) turned their one-point halftime lead into a seven-point advantage less than three minutes into the third quarter. Jacquez Raynor and James Harris controlled the boards, and Bryan Lewis executed the offense, which went completed an 11-2 run.

"Since the second half of the North Duplin game, we've talked about being focused and (our) effort, which is the key for us to be successful because we need to outwork people," said Rosewood coach Daniel Mitchell. "I think we figured that out the other night and tonight everybody gave a tremendous effort, especially on the defensive end."

Princeton (9-15, 3-7) scored eight of the next 12 points and trailed 40-37 heading into the final period. Benton Myers' 3-pointer kept the Dawgs within striking distance and Rosewood also obliged with turnovers on five of six possessions.

But the Dawgs didn't capitalize.

"We didn't score on a single possession and that was big," said Princeton head coach Jeff Davis. "That was our chance to come back."

Harris buried his fourth 3-pointer of the night. After Andre Nixon scored underneath, Harris came back on the other end and missed a short baseline jumper. The Dawgs didn't box out, Harris grabbed the ball and dropped in a left-handed layup.

"21 (Harris) hurt us and we knew he was a good shooter," said Davis.

The Dawgs pulled within 52-51 on T.J. Wilson's 3-pointer off Myers' assist. Each team misfired on their next possession before Harris got fouled while pulling down a Princeton airball.

Harris stepped to the line and converted both free throws.

"I knew I had to hit them," said Harris. "I just got up there ... focused and made the shots. The last game (against Princeton), we weren't mentally prepared, but tonight we went out there and took care of business."

Princeton put the ball in play and Gurganus attempted an off-balanced 3-point shot, with Harris closely guarding him, that missed as time expired. Davis, his coaching staff and team pleaded for a foul as the officials hustled to their locker room.

Raynor provided eight points and 10 rebounds, while Harris collected seven points and five boards. Lewis dished out five assists. Antonio Henriques chipped in seven points.

Nixon paced the Dawgs with a double-double -- 16 points, 10 rebounds. Point guard David Gurganus added 15 points and four assists. Wilson contributed eight fourth-quarter points.

"We had a horrible practice Thursday and they didn't say it, but I really think they thought it was going to be easy because we beat them by 25 points at our place," said Davis. "I knew we weren't going to play good because we weren't focused. Now we're playing for a playoff berth and it's do-or-die Tuesday.

"We put ourselves in position."