Kinston trailed at halftime but used a strong third quarter to take the lead and hold off Greensboro Dudley down the stretch for a 68-63 win in a game that featured two future University of North Carolina basketball players.
Kinston senior Reggie Bullock scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double. On defense, his assignment was his future UNC teammate, Dudley junior J.P.Hairston, who scored 24. Hairston was averaging 29 points per game.
Hairston hit four of five 3-pointers in the first half and had 13 points at intermission, including a 3-pointer with just two seconds left in the half that gave the Panthers a 30-24 halftime lead, matching their biggest lead of the game.
But the opening of the second half was completely different as the 11-3 Vikings went on a 14-0 run that resulted in a 38-30 Kinston lead.
Hairston hit a 3-pointer at the four-minute mark of the third quarter for his team's first points in the second half.
"First of all I want to say that was the type of game you would expect between two good ballclubs," Kinston coach Wells Gulledge said. "We came out in the second half and got off to the good start that we had talked about. Dory [Hines] did a good job penetrating, and Reggie got some baskets in transition."
Kinston led 65-53 with under two minutes to play, but Dudley (10-4) rallied to cut the lead to 65-63 on a follow shot by Hairston with 44 seconds to play.
Bullock intercepted a pass and hit a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left.
Dudley missed one last shot, and Kinston's Hines grabbed the rebound and hit a free throw with 7.7 seconds left for the final margin, as Dudley turned the ball over again.
"We dug ourselves too big a hole in the third quarter, getting down 12," Dudley coach David Price said. "But the thing is we didn't quit and had our chances to win down the stretch."
Kinston beat Dudley the last three years in the 3-A playoffs but will not face the Panthers in postseason this season. Kinston is now 2-A, and Dudley is 4-A.
"I'll always have bragging rights with P.J. - 4-0 against Dudley, and never lost to P.J.," Bullock said.
Dave Telep of scout.com said fans got to see the best of both players.
"P.J. can shoot the jumpshot, and when he gets in a rhythm like the first half he can score a lot of points," Telep said. "Reggie shines when it comes down to the wire. He's always a second-half player and at his best with the game on the line, like tonight."