HIGH POINT, N.C. – John Williams scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead UNC Asheville to a thrilling 81-78 overtime victory at High Point Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs (13-14, 9-7 BSC) won for the fourth time in the last five games and won their third straight overtime game. It was Asheville’s first win at High Point since the 2003-04 season.
Williams went 11-of-14 from the field and 10-of-14 from the free throw line. He scored eight points in overtime.
Sean Smith added 19 points for the Bulldogs, while Matt Dickey chipped in 11 points. Cruz Daniels led the Panthers (8-18, 4-12 BSC) with a career-best 25 points and 15 rebounds.
"I’m really proud of our guys for battling hard and winning the game," said UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We should have won the game in regulation but did a great job in overtime and got some key offensive rebounds."
Asheville led 79-78 with 32 seconds left in overtime when the Bulldogs fouled David Singleton. Singleton missed both free throws that would have given the Panthers the lead. Williams got the rebound and was fouled. He hit one free throw that pushed the lead to 80-78.
Williams got another key offensive rebound with nine seconds left and made a free throw to get the lead to 81-78. High Point had a chance to tie but Nick Barbour’s three-pointer was short and the Bulldogs escaped with the victory.
The Panthers tied the game at the end of regulation when Eugene Harris hit a 15-footer as the buzzer sounded to make it 70-70. Williams had given the Bulldogs the lead with five seconds left when he scored on a dunk.
UNC Asheville led for much of the first half thanks to great shooting from the field and the three-point line. The Bulldogs shot 62 percent from the field and 60 from beyond the arc to take a 43-36 halftime lead. Smith had 12 points in the opening half on three treys. High Point stayed close behind the play of Daniels who scored 14 points in the first half.
"John Williams really played great tonight," commented Biedenbach. "He also hit some big free throws when we had to have them."
The Bulldogs play their final regular-season home game of the year Saturday afternoon against Coastal Carolina starting at 4:30 p.m.