GREENVILLE, S.C. – Using a large advantage on the offensive glass, No. 3 seed Wingate outlasted second-seeded Anderson, 75-70, in overtime on Saturday to advance to the finals of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament at Timmons Arena.
Wingate (21-9), the defending SAC Tournament champion, will look to defend its title against top-seeded Lincoln Memorial on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Anderson (19-9), ranked ninth in the most recent NCAA Southeast Region rankings, wait until the NCAA Selection Show at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night to learn its fate for the remainder of the postseason.
Wingate scored the first basket of the contest, but Anderson countered with back-to-back 3-pointers, first from guard DJ McGowan then from sophomore Myson Jones to take an early 6-2 lead. But the Bulldogs regained a brief 10-9 edge on center Deion Turman’s traditional three-point play with 15:43 on the clock.
The opening half featured six tie scores and seven lead changes, with neither team able to build more than a four-point lead until Turman’s offensive rebound and putback off a missed free throw by teammate Xavier Griffin with just more than two minutes remaining in the half gave Wingate a 33-28 advantage.
Anderson sophomore center Chris Ross trimmed the Bulldog lead to three with a pair of free throws 16 seconds later, but WU’s Eddie Lewis answered with a traditional three-point play to boost the WU lead to 36-30.
Trojan guard DJ McGowan connected on a 3-pointer from deep in the left corner to pull AU within 36-33, but the Bulldogs closed the half with five straight points to take a 41-33 lead into intermission.
Wingate opened the second frame by sandwiching a pair of 3s around an inside basket by AU’s Kyle Sledge to push out to a double-digit, 47-35, lead with less than 18 minutes remaining. But Anderson countered with an 11-2 run, fueled by junior guard Chandler Hash.
Trojan forward Bo Holston trimmed the deficit to single digits by connecting on one-of-two free throws at the 16:25 mark and Hash’s trey from the right wing pulled Anderson within 49-42 with 14:22 left. The 6-foot guard added a pair of free throws to pull the Trojans within 49-44 and a slam by Sledge with 12:47 on clock got AU as close as 49-46
Two free throws by Wingate’s Odell Turner with 11:39 left slowed the Trojan outburst and pushed the ‘Dogs back up by five. Guard Paidrick Maitilus followed by sinking a trey from the left wing to give WU an eight-point edge.
AU posted another run – a 10-2 surge to knot the score at 56-56, with Ryan Daye regaining the lead for WU on a 3-pointer from the right side.
AU took its first lead since the 5:51 mark of the first half, 60-59, on four consecutive free throws from Hash – the final two with 28.7 ticks remaining. Wingate’s Eddie Lewis drained a 3 with just seven seconds left to give Wingate a brief 62-60 lead, but AU’s Sledge evened the score at 62-62 and Odell Turner’s long attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
Wingate scored the first six points of the extra frame and the Trojans were unable to recover.
Daye led four Bulldogs in double figures with 16 points, while Paidrick Matilus added 14. Turman netted 13 and Lewis finished with 12 points. Turner pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.
Hash scored a game-high 21 points for the Trojans, with Jones chipping in 15. McGowan and Holston scored 11 apiece. Sledge notched his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds