HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Providing Head Coach Lennie Acuff with his 300th win while on the UAH sideline, the No. 9 University of Alabama in Huntsville men's basketball team pushed past visiting Valdosta State 77-70 in a physical contest Thursday night at Kelly Court at Spragins Hall. The triumph pushes the Chargers to 17-3 (10-2 Gulf South Conference), while VSU slips to 13-7 (5-6 GSC).
With North Alabama falling to Christian Brothers, UAH moves into sole possession of first place in the GSC standings.
Five players scored in double figures for the Blue and White – led by Zane Campbell and Wayne Dedrick who both poured in 14 on the evening. After a pair of Patrick Diop free throws produced a 58-56 advantage for the visitors with 6:27 left in the ballgame, Jaime Smith hit a pair of his own to tie the contest. Campbell then grabbed a defensive rebound on the ensuing possession and found Garrett Cosgrove open in the corner, and he buried it for a trey to put UAH in front at 61-58 with 5:35 on the clock.
The Chargers would not trail again as Ronnie Mack hit a triple with 2:27 left to produce an eight-point advantage, but Valdosta State would close the gap to three with 44 seconds remaining. On the next UAH possession, the Chargers expertly ran the clock all the way down, and Smith iced the contest with a dramatic layup at the expiration of the shot clock.
Dedrick would add two free throws after picking the pocket of Diop, creating the 77-70 final.
Hitting a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half, Andrew Donovan scored 12 and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while Xavier Baldwin tallied 11 points to go along with a team-best five assists. Smith was a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe to also score in double figures with 10.
Greg Gardner matched Donovan with eight rebounds as the Chargers outrebounded Valdosta State by a 37-36 clip.
Shooting at a 57.1 percent clip in the second half, UAH shot 43.5 percent for the game while limiting the Blazers to hit 36.2 percent of their attempts.
VSU was led by James Anacreon who scored 18.
The Chargers will return to action on Saturday when West Florida visits for a 7 p.m. tip.