By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 16, 2010 1:47 PM
PRINCETON -- Jeff Davis had been pleading for someone, anyone to step up and take a charge.
Senior T.J. Wilson gave the Princeton head coach his wish when it mattered the most.
Wilson drew a critical charge late in overtime and helped the Bulldogs escape with a 57-54, senior night win over archrival Rosewood on Monday night. The victory secured third-place in the Carolina 1-A Conference and a home game against North Duplin tonight in opening-round play of the conference tournament.
Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles face Spring Creek tonight at 6 o'clock at Princeton.
With Princeton clinging to a 54-53 lead with less than a minute to play in overtime, Wilson drew the pivotal charge against Rosewood's Cody Harris. It was a welcomed sight for Davis, who had been urging his team to take a charge all night.
"We've lost three out of the last four by two (points), so it's nice to win one," said Davis. "T.J. played a heck of a game. I've been trying to get them to draw a charge and they're the worst charge-drawing group I've ever had. T.J. hit a big 3, and drew a charge and that was huge."
David Gurganus sank one of two free throws on the Bulldogs' next possession and Benton Myers' layup gave Princeton a 57-54 advantage.
Antonio Henriques' attempt at a game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark.
"We did a poor job of executing late," said Eagles head coach Daniel Mitchell. "I thought we panicked a little bit with the ball in our hands. We just made some mistakes here and there that cost us the game."
Wilson made the first of two free throws with six seconds left at the end of regulation to give the Bulldogs a 49-47 lead. Rosewood's Jyhkia Applewhite rebounded Wilson's miss on the second free throw and fired up a heave from half court. Henriques was there to grab the rebound and lay it back in at the buzzer to force overtime.
"We felt fortunate to be in overtime after the heave there a little early," said Mitchell. "Antonio did a great job of going after the ball and fighting over the defender and gave us a chance.
The Eagles knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half and took a 31-28 lead into the break. Princeton (11-11 overall, 5-5 CC) ratcheted up its defense after halftime and held Rosewood without a 3-pointer while limiting the Eagles (9-14, 4-6) to just six points in the third quarter.
"They screen on the ball a lot," said Davis. "Tonight we did a much better job late. We started handling the ball screens a lot better. That was real key."
Senior Matt Williamson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and nine rebounds. Wilson added 13 points and Gurganus finished with nine points.
Jacquez Raynor scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Rosewood. Henriques pitched in 14 points.
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