Bulldogs beat Eagles
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 25, 2012 1:48 PM
With a lead, the clock running, the floor spread and possession of the basketball, Princeton felt right at home in the Eagles' Nest on Tuesday evening.
The Bulldogs got exactly the situation they were looking for and managed the game efficiently down the stretch in a 56-43 win at Carolina 1-A Conference archrival Rosewood.
Princeton extended the Eagles' defense all night with spacing on offense. The Bulldogs consistently penetrated through Rosewood's 2-3 zone and kicked the ball out to open shooters or got by defenders for lay-ups. Nine of Princeton's 12 first-quarter points came off 3-pointers, including AJ Smith's shot from beyond the arc that created a 12-12 tie after the opening eight minutes.
Bulldogs' point guard CJ Jeffreys scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the final three minutes of the first half. Jeffreys knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled as time expired in the second quarter. Jeffreys sank the ensuing free throw and Princeton led 31-25 at halftime.
"CJ, he can score," Bulldogs' head coach Jeff Davis said. "This year he's really stepped up in the scoring department. We're so small we have to be patient and get great shots."
The margin grew to 36-28 on Ryne Woodard's layup early in the third quarter. Rosewood battled back with six unanswered points and trailed 38-37 entering the fourth quarter.
Aaron Simpkins' 3-pointer capped a 9-0 Princeton run to start the fourth quarter that pushed the lead to 47-37. The Bulldogs spread the floor, entrusted the basketball to its senior guards -- Jeffreys and Dalvin Stancil -- and melted valuable time off the clock. The move not only forced the Eagles out of their 2-3 zone defense, they were held to six points in the fourth quarter.
"We feel if we can get a lead late, and CJ and Dalvin are good ball handlers, so we got that lead in the fourth quarter with about five minutes to go and that's what we wanted to do," Davis said. "When we get to that point they can't sag off of you and they have to come out and deny everything."
The Eagles pulled to within 49-42 on Jyonte Raynor's 3-pointer with 2 1/2 minutes left. The Bulldogs made 8 of 12 free throws in the final 59 seconds to seal the win.
"I thought we took too many perimeter shots," Rosewood head coach Daniel Mitchell said. "When they weren't going in, they were getting some easy baskets in transition. I told our guys in the scouting report once Princeton gets a lead in the fourth quarter it's hard to catch up."
Smith contributed 13 points and six rebounds for Princeton. Stancil had nine points and Jeffreys dished out four assists to go with five rebounds.
Dee Mabry and Thornton both scored 11 points for the Eagles. Thornton also pulled down nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs (10-8 overall, 3-2 CC) travel to Spring Creek on Friday, while Rosewood (6-8, 2-3 CC) entertains Ayden-Grifton.