After 13 lead changes and countless heart-stopping moments, size won out over shooting as the Raiders emerged with a 74-73 victory Wednesday evening on their home floor.
Fittingly, 6-foot-7 forward Andrew Seager put the finishing touches on the win by knocking down two clutch free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining, making it a two-possession game. The postgrad from Ocean Township also drew a charge on Peddie underneath the basket in the final minute.
Seager overcame foul trouble to lead 12 different Hun scorers with 16 points.
“A couple games ago I missed a game-winning shot, so I had to make the free throws to make up for that,” Seager said. “This is a big win because we know they were 2-1 in the conference, we were 1-2, so honestly I had to put foul trouble and all that aside and just make sure I did everything I could do to get the win.”
Hun has five players who stand at least 6-foot-5 and Peddie only has one such player, so the Raiders prioritized feeding the ball into the post.
Dylan Deveney finished with 14 points including a big trey in the fourth quarter with the shot clock winding down. Eric Fleming netted eight.
“Yesterday we were practicing not to dribble too hard, because we knew they were going to flop because they’re a little team,” Seager said. “So in the post, not dribble and put your shoulder down and stuff. We were emphasizing just to get the ball and turn around, try to get the basket. I thought me, Dylan and Eric did a really good job today.”
Peddie drilled 13 3-pointers, including a bucket by Bernie Blunt that put the Falcons up 70-69 with just over a minute remaining.
Deveney answered with a three-point play on a layup plus a foul to give Hun the lead again. On two separate possessions while down two in the final minute, Peddie turned the ball over.
TCA transfer Latrell Reid had a game-high 20 points and was the catalyst of Peddie’s drive and kick action. Gabe Millstein buried five 3s and ended up with 18 points.
“I think we really felt comfortable that we were kind of controlling the pace, kind of our pace,” Peddie coach Joe Rulewich said. “But credit to Hun. They made plays down the stretch: two straight line drives to the rim, the backdoor kind of from the elbow, the big end-of-the-shot-clock 3. They just kept responding. We did, too, but they made that one extra play to kind of take the lead for good.”
Hun has five more games until the postseason, while Peddie has six including a home game Thursday against West Nottingham Academy.
The Mercer County rivals could potentially face off two more times this season. The Mid-Atlantic Prep League Tournament is in two weeks, and the Prep A state tournament tips off the following week.
A rematch would certainly be intriguing.
“It was a clash of styles, right?” Rulewich said. “They kind of really attacked us inside, especially early in the game to start, taking advantage of some of the mismatches on our switches. And we were able to kind of find and share a little bit. So it was a nice clash and I think a really evenly played game.”
Reid 9-1-20, Millstein 5-3-18, Spinazzi 3-0-6, Blunt 4-2-14, Pina 5-0-12, Tahsildaroglu 1-0-3.
Totals — 27-6-73.
Seager 7-2-16, Deveney 6-1-14, Bostic 1-0-2, Morrisey 1-0-2, Adelman 1-1-3, Gunnarsson 2-2-6, Alvarado 3-0-7, Knight 1-0-3, Vessey 1-2-4, Weiss 1-0-3, Fleming 4-0-8, Florence 1-3-6.
Totals — 29-11-74.
Peddie (8-7) 16 24 17 16 — 73
Hun (8-8) 18 20 19 17 — 74
3-point goals: Millstein 5, Blunt 4, Pina 2, Reid, Tahsildaroglu (P), Deveney, Alvarado, Knight, Weiss, Florence (H).