By Phil Anastasia
Like many big men, Julien Davenport is proud of his outside shot.
He doesn't take many from distance. But he remembers the ones he makes.
"It was my third (of the season)," Davenport said of his three-pointer in the third quarter. "It felt pretty good."
It was a big shot. It also was an anomaly.
Davenport, a 6-8 senior center, dominated the game in the paint. He generated 24 points, eight blocks and seven rebounds in leading Paulsboro to a 77-73 victory over Woodbury Thursday night in a fast-paced Colonial Conference clash.
"That's the best game I've ever seen him play," Woodbury coach Kenny Avent said of Davenport. "He took over the game."
Senior forward Xavier Lundy added 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists and sophomore forward Saleem Little contributed 10 points and six rebounds for Paulsboro (11-0 overall, 7-0 in the Colonial), the No. 2 team in The Inquirer Top 10.
Senior guard Mario Joyner scored 22 and senior guard Dwaun Martin added 21 for Woodbury (7-5, 4-4).
The Thundering Herd made 10 three-pointers, including four each by Joyner and senior guard Rashon Felix, and took their undefeated rivals to the limit before a near-capacity crowd in Paulsboro's gymnasium.
"Our kids fought," said Avent, whose team missed a three-pointer that would have cut the deficit to 77-76 with 0:05 on the clock.
Paulsboro's size was the difference. With Davenport, the 6-5 Lundy and the 6-3 Little pounding the glass, the Red Raiders generated numerous second-chance opportunities.
"They had 16 offensive rebounds," Avent said of Paulsboro. "You can't give any team 16 extra chances, much less a good team."
Paulsboro and Woodbury are fierce rivals in every sport. Davenport said he expected a tough game from the Thundering Herd, which had won three in a row and beat Burlington County power Medford Tech on Monday night.
"People were asking me in school if it was going to be a good game or a blowout," Davenport said. "I said, 'It's a rivalry game. You better come watch.'"
Davenport scored 11 with four rebounds, an assist and a block in the third quarter, as Paulsboro built a 66-55 lead.
When Woodbury cut a 71-57 deficit to 71-65 with around three minutes to play, Davenport muscled inside for a layup.
Paulsboro coach Sean Collins said Davenport has picked up his play in recent weeks, rounding in basketball shape after a football season that extended to December.
"He's been a bear the last three or four games," Collins said.
Woodbury 22 16 17 18 -- 73
Paulsboro 20 19 27 11 -- 77
W: Mario Joyner 22, Jeray Denby 6, Cameron Gamble 2, Will Harris 8, Dwaun Martin 21, Elijah Grant 2, Rashon Felix 12.
P: Xavier Lundy 15, Julien Davenport 24, Saleem Little 10, Derrick Burgess 7, Keenan Williams 9, Kane Seegar 10, Yusuf Stafford 2.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.