By Herb Brooks, DSU Athletics
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A miraculous second half comeback lifted the Delta State men’s basketball team to a 59-53 upset over the No.3 University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers inside Spragins Hall on Saturday, Jan. 12. The win marks the first Gulf South Conference victory of the 2012-13 season for the Statesmen and first career GSC victory for first year head coach Jim Boone.
The last time a visiting came away victorious against the Chargers inside Spragins Hall was on November 28, 2011 at the hands of Harding University. The loss tonight ended a 20-game home winning streak for UAH.
The Statesmen jumped out to a hot start by reeling off a 12-3 run at beginning of the game against the Chargers. Matt Allbritton led the charge offensively connecting on two three-pointers, while the Green-and-White defense held UAH to just 2-14 shooting from the floor during that time.
Pre-season All-American Jaime Smith broke Alabama-Huntsville out of the slump connecting on three free-throws, bringing the score to 12-6, after being bailed out with one second left on the shot clock.
The Chargers raced out to a 27-16 lead to close the opening half of play on the 4-of-8 shooting from Wayne Dedrick. Dedrick led all scorers in the first half with 10 points.
Allbritton paced the Statesmen in the first half with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor and a pair of three pointers.
The Statesmen have struggled throughout the year plagued with slow starts and numerous untimely turnovers but tonight was not that kind of night. The Green-and-White chipped away at the Charger lead in chunks until Ryan Smith nailed a jumper at the 8:39 mark to tie the ball game at 43-43, then knocked down a pair of free-throws to take the lead 45-43 with 6:14 remaining.
Delta State did not look back converting 14-of-24 (.583) from the field and 13-of-17 (.765) from the free throw line in the second half to clinch the win.
Terry Leake, Jr. paced the offense with his sixth double-double of the season at 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Smith followed closely with 15 points and five rebounds. Allbritton tallied 10 points with freshman Jack Madgen closing out with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Statesmen return home to Walter-Sillers Coliseum on Thursday, Jan.17 at 7 p.m. to take on the University of West Florida.