LAKELAND, Fla. – The ninth-ranked University of Alabama in Huntsville men's basketball team fell in the NCAA South Regional championship on Tuesday night, dropping a heartbreaking 90-88 decision to Florida Southern at the Jenkins Field House. The Chargers conclude yet another fantastic campaign at 25-6.
The host Mocs hit a pair of free throws with just over two seconds left to win the contest, capping off what was an exciting contest that saw the lead exchange hands 17 times while also featuring nine ties.
Both teams featured four players that scored in double figures including UAH seniors Zane Campbell and Jaime Smith. Campbell notched a double-double in his final game as he scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Smith scored 13 and dished out seven assists. Both earned spots on the All-Regional Team for their efforts.
Wayne Dedrick led the Chargers with 27 points as he hit a team-best four 3-pointers.
UAH built up an 11-point lead at the 5:53 mark of the first half, but the 40-29 UAH advantage quickly became a 44-42 Florida Southern lead with 1:29 left in the period. That would be the score at the halftime break.
The Mocs came out of the locker room and pushed the advantage out to 48-42 just over a minute into the second stanza, but the largest lead that FSC would enjoy on the evening soon was erased by an 8-0 run for the Chargers as UAH went up 50-48 on a pair of Smith free throws.
The first six points of the run were all scored by Campbell.
Eventually the hosts would go back in front by six again at 59-53 with 12:37 remaining in the period, but UAH would not let Florida Southern pull away as the Chargers eventually were able to overcome the deficit and led by an 88-85 margin with 51 seconds left after a Dedrick layup.
After scoring on a free throw and forcing a turnover, the Mocs were able tie the contest with 37 seconds left to go, but FSC played strong defense on the final UAH possession and forced a shot clock violation to set-up the final moments of the contest.
The Chargers shot 50 percent from the field for the game while holding Florida Southern to 42.6 percent, but the Mocs were able to hit 14 3-pointers compared to 10 for UAH.
Florida Southern was led by the regional's Most Outstanding Player Seth Evans who hit eight 3-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 31 points.
The contest marks the end of a tremendous four-year run for Campbell, Smith, Xavier Baldwin and Brett Wester as the team reached four straight NCAA tournaments and three consecutive South Regional title games while the quartet wore the Blue and White. UAH also won 106 contests, four Gulf South Conference regular season titles and a GSC tournament championship.