That is until Harding’s Kinshawn Pettway launched a three-pointer as time expired.
Pettway’s buzzer-beater gave the Presidents an exciting 56-54 victory over Wilton on Friday night at Zeoli Field House. It was the second-period ending trey by the Presidents in the game.
The score was tied at 51-51 with 48.6 seconds left to play. With 25.1 seconds left, Wilton’s Max Maudsley pulled down a rebound, put it in for two, and was fouled. Maudsley hit the free throw to give Wilton a 54-51 lead.
Harding came down the court and got a basket to make the score 54-53 with 9.4 seconds remaining. The Presidents fouled Wilton after it inbounded the ball, putting Eric Houska on the line. Houska missed the front end of the one-and-one and the ball went out of bounds with 3.2 seconds on the clock.
The Presidents inbounded the ball under their basket to Pettway. Pettway quickly dribbled the ball just beyond the three-point stripe, and with two Warriors on him launched the game-winner.
The loss puts the Warriors’ overall record at 5-5 (3-5 in the FCIAC).
“We know this loss puts us behind the eight ball in achieving our pre-season goals,” said Wilton head coach Joel Geriak. “We didn’t execute or hit our shots tonight. Give them (Harding) a lot of credit; they are quick and athletic and they made us play their style of game and it cost us. Their play forced us to turn the ball over more than we have been, and we can’t afford to do that.”
The Presidents (3-7) also did an excellent job in limiting the Warriors to just one shot most of the time down the floor. Wilton got out to an early 10-point lead in the first quarter and held a 18-13 lead after one. Harding got as close as one point midway through the second quarter, but Wilton held a 28-23 lead with less than five seconds to play in the first half when Harding sank a three-pointer just before the buzzer to close the lead to 28-26.
Wilton was led by Olandi LeGrand with 18 points, followed by Maudsley with 13 points and Weston Wilbur with 10 points.
Pettway led all scorers with a game-high 20 points. Reggie Stewart added 13 points for Harding.
Note: Earlier in the day in was announced that Harding had to forfeit two of its previous wins due an illegible player.