The UAH men’s basketball team has put together two impressive efforts against Southeastern Conference opponents, but the most recent game against Alabama was nearly one of the biggest upsets of the young season.
The Chargers were able to put together a strong effort against the Vanderbilt Commodores in their first exhibition match. The men kept it close for a majority of the game before Vandy starting clicking and rolled to a 69-53 win.
The next game against the Crimson Tide would also have the Chargers going up against a heavily-favored opponent, but these results would be a lot more interesting.
The Chargers came out strong, hitting 50 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes, while the Crimson Tide struggled up until just before halftime. UAH managed to pull away by as many as eight points with 4:15 left in the first.
Alabama began to snap out of their funk with an 8-2 run, but still trailed the Chargers 28-26 at the half.
It looked like Alabama would slowly start to pull away when the Tide went up 41-36 on a jumper by Kendall Durant. The momentum would then swing the Chargers way as they went on a 12-7 run, ending with Xavier Baldwin’s layup to give UAH a 48-46 advantage with only 6:27 left.
Alabama caught fire again to retake the lead 54-49 with 4:10 left, but once again the Chargers would refuse to back down, and after chipping away at the lead Josh Magette sunk a three-pointer to give UAH the lead, 57-56.
Bama answered right back with a three of their own, but Xavier Baldwin would provide the Chargers with more heroics as he tipped in a missed shot with 28 seconds left to tie the game at 59-all.
The Tide had several opportunities to win the game at the end, but UAH would step up the defense and send the game in to overtime.
The Tide looked to drop the Chargers early in OT by quickly hitting a three-pointer. There was a short scoring exchange and Chargers tied the game again with 1:08 left when Jaime Smith hit a deep three-pointer.
UAH had a chance to win the game at the end of the first OT but a missed three point attempt sent the game in to a second overtime.
Zane Campbell gave the Chargers a 66-64 lead early in the second OT as the Chargers looked to pull off the huge upset. The Crimson Tide once again found their momentum and hit several shots to go up 71-68 with 35 seconds left.
UAH had a chance to tie the game but missed a three-pointer just wide with 20 seconds left. The Tide’s next basket would seal the game and Alabama escaped 73-68 in one of the most exciting games UAH has played in years.
Jamie Smith led the team in scoring with 19 points and was five for 12 from the field. Zane Campbell picked up a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Josh Yost and Xavier Baldwin also reached double-digit scoring with 10 points each.
It was a heroic effort by the Chargers and further shows the talent and grit the team has going in to the regular season.
The Chargers play in the GSC/SSC Challenge this weekend, and then open up the season at home Nov. 15.