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Smith scored with 12 seconds left, punctuating a huge
day for the senior as the No. 7 University of Alabama in Huntsville men's
basketball team captured a thrilling 73-71 road victory at Delta State on
Saturday. The win moves the Chargers to 19-4 (12-3 Gulf South Conference),
while DSU falls to 9-13 (5-9 GSC).
With fellow senior Xavier Baldwin not in the lineup, Smith and classmate Zane Campbell teamed up for 53 points to guide the Chargers to the victory, propelling the team back into sole possession of first place as North Alabama lost to Union 101-99 in overtime on Saturday.
The game was nip-and-tuck throughout as neither team was able to lead by double digits, and it was the Chargers who enjoyed the first advantage of the day.
Smith scored 17 of his points in the first half, helping UAH lead through much of the stanza but never by anymore than four points as Delta State eventually pulled ahead near the five-minute mark and remained in front until the half expired as the Statesmen led 33-32 at the break.
The DSU advantage was 41-38 just under three minutes into the second half, but a Wayne Dedrick triple followed up by a pair of freebies from Smith and two shots at the charity stripe from Dedrick put the Chargers ahead 45-41 at the 14:44 mark of the period.
Smith was a stellar 13-for-13 from the free throw line on the night which marks the second-best perfect performance in program history as both Ben Mitchell and Will Gardner recorded 14-for-14 showings at the line.
The Statesmen – who were paced on the day Cornell Knight's 17 points – eventually went back in front and enjoyed its largest lead of the night at 59-50 with 8:38 remaining in the game.
With the Chargers pulling to within two on three occasions down the stretch, Delta State answered each time until the game rolled under two minutes left on the clock and Smith buried a triple to make it 69-68 in favor of the hosts at the 1:47 mark.
Knight would hit a layup on the following possession, but Campbell took a pass from Smith and knocked down a shot from beyond the arc with 1:11 remaining to tie the contest, and after Ronnie Mack grabbed a defensive rebound, Smith made the game-winning layup fall to give UAH the win.
Smith finished with 33 and six assists while Campbell scored 20, and joining the pair in double figures was Dedrick who chipped in with 13.
The Chargers shot 50.0 percent for the game and protected the ball exceptionally well, turning it over just six times in the affair. Delta State connected on 52.8 percent of its attempts and outrebounded UAH by a 30-22 margin.
UAH will now return home to face Union on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.