CHINA GROVE — South Rowan coach Bryan Withers kept waiting for his team to make a run — and he’s still waiting.
Carson cruised past South with surprising ease on Tuesday, dribbling away the final minute of a 66-44 NPC victory.
It was the biggest blowout ever in what has been a tense, tight series, but the Raiders left their intensity and their shooting touches on the bus this time.
“South just couldn’t get a shot to fall,” Carson coach Brian Perry said. “Believe me, I’ve been there.”
On the other hand, just about every Cougar was making shots. South (8-7, 2-2) actually did a good job against Colton Laws and Tre Williams, who are capable of huge offensive games, but Perry got 14 points from Marquez McCain and 12 from D.J. Love.
Jacob Raper hit three 3s, Andrew Hower hit one key long one, and Myquon Stout chipped in with a bushel of rebounds.
“We got production from a lot of guys across the board,” Perry said. “One of my favorite plays of the year was Williams-to McCain-to Stout-to Laws for a layup. We shared the ball.”
South coach Bryan Withers watched his team’s three-game winning streak end in a train wreck.
“We didn’t come to compete, and I mean, we competed zero,” Withers said. “It’s still a roller coaster for us from one game to the next. I’m not mad. I just know I’ve got to change some things.”
Carson (8-7, 2-1) started sluggishly and South got six early points from Tvadis Wesley, including his monster slam of a perfect lob by Eric Tyler.
South led 10-8 after a quarter, but Hower’s 3 triggered a second-period explosion by the Cougars.
When Laws made two free throws and Love buried a 3, Carson was up 16-10. Love’s next 3 made it 19-12.
“We put up confident shots,” Love said. “They were open and we knocked them down like we’re supposed to.”
When Raper beat the halftime buzzer with an improbable 3 from deep on the right side in front of South’s bench and cheering section, it was 31-22 Cougars at the break.
“Just kinda threw that one up there,” Raper said with a grin.”
McCain’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter pushed the Cougars’ lead to a dozen, and McCain scored seven in the fourth quarter as the Cougars pulled away.
A fourth-quarter tip-in by Williams made it a 15-point game, and Carson’s zone frustrated the Raiders.
“We just had to keep them from getting to the rim and we had to know where (Shawn) Spry was,” Love said.
Spry, a junior guard, carried South as far as he could. He scored eight of South’s 12 in the second quarter and he accounted for 100 percent of South’s eight points in the third quarter.
But Qwan Rhyne, who has been in double figures 10 times didn’t scratch, Wesley was silenced by Carson’s zone after the first quarter, and frequent double-figure scorer Josh Medlin never could get it going.
Carson outscored South 21-9 from the 3-point line and 18-7 from the foul line, and there were times when Laws and Stout just kept rebounding until someone stuck it in.
“We lost a tough game Friday at Statesville, and it’s tough to build on a loss, but maybe we did,” Perry said. “We gained a little confidence.”
South closed the Moir tournament with wins against West Rowan and East Rowan and won by 15 against North Iredell in NPC last Friday, but this was a long night.
“Everyone on Carson’s team contributed,” Spry said. “And we just didn’t bring it. When you’re going into their place, you’ve just got to compete a lot better than we competed.”
Both coaches were certain the rematch at South will be tougher. South leads the series 9-8, and neither school has swept a season series since South went 3-0 against the Cougars in 2006-07, the first year Carson was open.
SOUTH ROWAN (44) — Spry 18, Medlin 7, Wesley 6, Carter 4, Hill 4, Tyler 3, Miller 2, Rhyne, Goldston, Holbrook, Corriher.
CARSON (66) — McCain 14, Laws 13, Love 12, Raper 9, Williams 8, Stout 5, Hower 5, Howard.
S. Rowan 10 12 8 14 — 44
Carson 8 23 12 23 — 66