MEMPHIS — No. 6 Alabama-Huntsville clinched its third consecutive Gulf South Conference regular season title with a 67-62 victory against No. 13 Christian Brothers at Canale Arena on Sunday evening. The UAH record improves to 21-3 (12-1 GSC), while CBU falls to 19-5 (10-3 GSC).
After Christian Brothers sank a pair of technical free throws with 5:25 remaining in the contest to build a seven-point advantage at 62-55, the Chargers held the home team scoreless while going on a 12-0 run to completely erase the deficit and produce the championship-winning victory.
Xavier Baldwin hit a clutch 3-pointer with 2:16 left to cut his team’s deficit to 62-61, and Jaime Smith sank a pair of technical free throws with 1:16 on the clock to put UAH on top.
Four successful trips to the charity stripe and a key steal by Josh Magette in the final minute sealed the triumph.
“I’m real happy for our kids,” Head Coach Lennie Acuff said following the victory. “We beat a great team today. I’m blessed to coach these kids. They’ve achieved some amazing things in the last three years and hopefully there’s more to come.”
The seven-point hole was just part of the deficit that the Chargers overcame in the affair as the team trailed by as many as 10 points near the midway point of the second half, but UAH outscored the Bucs 22-7 in the final 11 minutes.
In that stretch, the Chargers held the game’s leading scorer Zack Warner off the board as he was 0-for-2 from the field and committed a turnover. Before the struggles, the senior turned in a 23-point showing on the afternoon. Teammate Scott Dennis was also strong in the affair as he earned a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
After a slow start for both squads — it was 3-1 in favor of UAH in the next four minutes into the contest — the Chargers turned it up a notch and built up a 19-10 lead at the midway point of the opening half.
But after a CBU timeout, the Bucs went on a 16-4 run to grab their first lead of the game at 26-23 with 4:35 left to until the half, and besides for a few moments after a Ronnie Mack trey late in the period put UAH on top for a brief moment, the hosts held their lead through the halftime break and into the second stanza until the impressive late run by the Chargers.
For the contest, Magette led the way for the Chargers as he scored 18 points and dished out a game-high nine assists, while Zane Campbell joined him in double figures with 15 points. Conner Blasi was strong off the bench with eight points and a team-best seven rebounds.
Christian Brothers outshot the Chargers by a slim 48.8 percent to 47.2 percent clip, and the Bucs also won the battle on the glass, grabbing 27 rebounds to UAH’s 23.
The Chargers behind the strong performances from Campbell and Blasi outscored CBU 38-18 in the paint.