CARROLLTON, Ga. - A 16-6 run over the final seven minutes of the game Tuesday night fell just short for the West Georgia Wolves, as a layup from Alabama Huntsville's J.J. Kaplan with 6.8 seconds left in the Super Tuesday Gulf South Conference tournament game proved to be the difference in a 68-66 victory for UAH.
The Wolves shot just 37 percent from the floor in the game compared to 52 percent from the Chargers, but West Georgia stayed in the game by forcing turnovers throughout the contest. West Georgia forced 18 UAH turnovers while committing just 11, outscoring the
The first 10 minutes saw a bigger defensive battle than anything else, as Alabama Huntsville led at that point 16-11. The Wolves picked up scoring from all over, as no player had more than three points in the first 13 minutes of the contest. Over the next five minutes, Michael Zabetakis picked up the pace, scoring eight of his 15 points in the first half. The freshman hit back-to-back three-pointers with just over three minutes left in the half to give the Wolves a 28-25 lead, the first of the game for West Georgia.
The final minute of the half was frenetic, as the Chargers took a 31-30 lead, but the two teams exchanged the lead three times in the span of 60 seconds. When the dust cleared, Alabama Huntsville held a 35-32 advantage.
In the second half, Alabama Huntsville kept the Wolves at an arm's length for much of the period, but with 9:13 left in the game, the Chargers pushed the lead out with an 8-2 run. With 7:12 left in the game, the Wolves were staring down the long end of a 62-50 score. But West Georgia didn't blink, going on a 16-6 run to close out the game. That included a tie at 66-66 with 35 seconds left in the game.
Smith, who was bottled up for just 19 points on the night, faked a shot at the free-throw line. The Chargers bit on the fake and he found a wide-open Zabetakis to tie the game at 66 with 35 seconds left.
Zabetakis scored a career-high 22 points in the game to lead the Wolves, followed by Smith, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, marking his 13th double-double this season. The Wolves finish the first year under head coach Dave Moore with a 17-12 record overall.