Slow and steady won the race for Orange in its early-season showdown with conference rival Southern Durham on Tuesday night.
Connor Crabtree and Logan Vosburg combined for 41 points and Vosburg had a double-double as the Panthers came back to top the Spartans 66-60 in Big 8 Conference boys basketball action on the Spartans’ court.
Orange, which had defeated the Spartans in the conference tournament final last season, improved to 6-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Southern, which had swept the two-game regular-season series last time to beat the Panthers for the top seed, fell to 6-3 and 2-1.
“We have struggled with turnovers, and we were able to avoid them late in the game,” said longtime Orange coach Greg Motley, whose team has won four of its last five games. “And we rebounded a lot better tonight than we have been. We’ve focused on that a lot in practice. When we play Southern we have to be aware of their athleticism. We like to play fast, but we have to try to slow them down.”
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Southern – which got a combined 46 points from Jomaru Brown and Antonio Daye Jr., led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter and later held the Panthers scoreless for 5 ½ minutes in the second half. But perseverance made the difference for Orange, which finished the contest on a 9-3 run.
The rematch will be on Jan. 27 on the Panthers’ court.
The final 3:08 of the game. Southern was up 56-49 and hadn’t scored since the third quarter when Crabtree’s 3-pointer started Orange’s final run. The Panthers hit six of their final eight free-throw attempts, while Southern hit one of its last five.
THEY SAID IT:
“When we got ahead I think we stopped focusing on the basics,” Southern coach Kendrick Hall said. “Sometimes we didn’t chase the ball down. Sometimes we didn’t box out. And sometimes we didn’t catch the ball and finish. It was just basic elementary things you might take for granted. We can’t just depend on our talent. We have to make basic plays.”
THREE TO KNOW
Connor Crabtree, wing, Orange: The senior UNC Asheville signee poured in 29 points to lead all scorers.
“We had good energy the whole game and didn’t let down,” Crabtree said. “I thought we did a good job with our zone. We had to keep them out of the middle and we were able to do that tonight. This might have been the most complete game we’ve played all season.”
Logan Vosburg, forward, Orange: The junior Roanoke commit had 12 points to go with his 18 rebounds.
“Southern has a lot of guys who can jump out of the gym,” Vosburg said. “We did a good job boxing them out. This was a big win, but we know everybody’s going to be coming after us now.”
Jomaru Brown, wing, Southern: The junior led his team with 24 points.
“I think we played hard,” Brown said. “We just didn’t finish. We played well in spurts, but Orange had the best spurt at the end. We just need to focus more in practices and in games.”
BY THE NUMBERS
2: The number of times Southern led by 13 points in the first half.
3: Lead changes in the game.
4: Times the game was tied.
6: Orange’s biggest lead of the game, twice in thee fourth quarter.
18: Points for Southern’s Daye.
36: Team rebounds for Orange, meaning Vosburg pulled down half of them.
Southern plays again on Tuesday against Heritage in the David West bracket of the John Wall Foundation Holiday Classic Tournament at Broughton.
Orange’s next game is on Dec. 28 against Greensboro’s Piedmont Classical in the Eastern Guilford Holiday Tournament. The Panthers won the tournament two seasons ago.