By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 12, 2012 1:48 PM
WILSON -- Another hard-luck loss.
Boy, was this one bitter.
Gerald Boston drew a controversial foul and drained two free throws with 2.1 seconds left, lifting Barton to a come-from-behind 67-65 victory over Mount Olive inside a packed Wilson Gymnasium on Wednesday evening.
The Trojans (8-6 overall) suffered their third Conference Carolinas defeat of the season, and fifth overall in their last six outings.
"It's a shame," said MOC head coach Joey Higginbotham. "Our guys fought hard, their guys fought hard. It was a great game until the last play of the game."
Mount Olive put the ball in play with 33.2 seconds left in regulation and 28 seconds on the shot clock. The Trojans worked the ball around the perimeter and the Bulldogs defended the screens until Ewon Wright got open for a 3-pointer from the corner.
The ball bounced off the rim and into Gerald Boston's hands. MOC's Dory Hines tried to create a jumpball, but the baseline official called him for a pushing foul.
An incensed Higginbotham pleaded Hines' case.
"No explanation," said a disgusted Higginbotham.
Hines, who scored 12 of the Dogs' final 15 points of the game, swished the net on both attempts while the Trojan faithful roared their disappointment over the astonishing foul.
"I know we weren't getting some of the loose balls and they out-rebounded us today," said Boston. "I saw the ball in the air and I knew I had to make a play. I just wanted to get the rebound and luckily, I was able to get the foul.
"He did push me, but I didn't think he (the referee) was going to call it because it was such a close game towards the end. I knew I was going to get either the foul or a timeout."
The archrivals, who met for the 48th time since 1994, traded leads five times in the final 5-plus minutes of the game. Boston's layup gave Barton its first lead, 58-57, since the early stages of the opening half.
Hines and Craig Hayes, who snared 10 offensive rebounds and pumped in 19 points, connected on game-tying baskets within a 30-second stretch. Jordan McCain's kiss off the glass pushed the Trojans ahead 64-63 and Hines' free throw extended the lead to 65-63.
Boston converted a game-tying basket to set up the thrilling finish.
"Gerald made two unbelievable plays and I tip my hat to him," said Higginbotham. "That leaning left-hander, I don't think we can guard that any better. He played one heckuva game tonight.
"(But) I've always been told that players win and lose games ... I'm proud of my guys. It was a typical Mount Olive-Barton game, a game no one deserves to lose, but we deserved to win this game as much as Barton did."
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