ANDERSON, S.C. – Wingate junior guard Ryan Daye dropped in a driving layup with 1.2 seconds on the clock to lift Wingate to a 72-70 overtime win past Anderson in South Atlantic Conference action Wednesday night at the Abney Athletic Center.
“To shoot 34 percent from the field and still have a chance to win is good,” said Anderson head coach Jason Taylor. “But we could not stop (Wingate) in the last five minutes and overtime. It was a tough loss and we will find out what we are made of with another great team coming in here Saturday.”
After playing five of its first six contests on the road, Anderson (5-2, 2-2 SAC) opened a brief two-match homestand and began a stretch of four home contests in its next five outings. The Trojans have dropped two of their last three decisions – by a combined total of three points – and tonight’s contest marked the second straight game decided in overtime.
Wingate (5-1, 4-0 SAC) won its fifth straight game and their second consecutive overtime victory past the Trojans after claiming a 75-70 win in the semifinals of last year’s SAC Tournament.
The Trojans overcame a slow start after misfiring on their first six shot attempts and opening the contest 1-for-8 from the field. Senior guard Chandler Hash’s first 3-pointer of the game at the 15:33 mark got Anderson on the scoreboard and his second trey of the night gave the Trojans their first lead of the night, at 10-9, with 11:09 remaining in the opening half.
The game was tied four times over the next three minutes, with senior forward Kyle Sledge connecting on his first career 3-pointer from deep in the right corner to ignite a 15-2 scoring outburst by the Trojans. Senior guard CJ Gleaton fueled the run with 10 of his 13 points during the surge and capped the run with a trey with 43 seconds left in the half to give AU a 32-19 cushion.
Wingate’s Daye hit a pair of free throws just before the break to set the halftime score at 32-21.
Anderson built its largest lead of the game, 40-23, on a short jumper by Sledge less than three minutes into the second frame, but the Bulldogs countered with a 14-1 run of their own to trim Anderson’s lead to just four with less than 12 minutes remaining. Hash slowed the Wingate push with a driving layup down the right side of the lane and scored seven of AU’s next nine points to give AU a double-digit, 50-39, lead at the 9:28 mark.
But Wingate, the two-time defending SAC Tournament champions, refused to go away and trimmed the AU advantage to three on two occasions before Daye’s jumper with 30 seconds on the clock knotted the score for the fifth time of the night, at 62-62, and sent the contest to overtime.
The Bulldogs scored the first four points of the extra frame, with the Trojans answering with a pair of free throws from Hash and Gleaton to even the score at 66-66.The Bulldogs’ Xavier Griffin and Deion Turman combined for back-to-back scores, while Hash knocked down a jumper and junior center Chris Ross nailed two from the line to even the score at 70-70 with 1:07 on the clock.
The Trojan defense then forced a turnover with 43.9 seconds left, but Wingate returned the favor with 17 ticks remaining to set up Daye’s last second heroics. Anderson’s Myles Daniel was unable to connect on a heavily-contested shot from near midcourt as the buzzer sounded.
Hash led the Trojans with 27 points and added two steals, while Ross tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Gleaton added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Trojans and Sledge narrowly missed his first double-double of the season with nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. The 6-foot-6 forward also notched three blocked shots and two steals.
Daye led all scorers with 32 points, while Bulldog senior center Deion Turman added 18 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Trojans close out the homestand by playing host to league-leading Newberry on Saturday. The Wolves are undefeated heading into the matchup and will be coming off a six-day layoff.