San Antonio – Marlon Smith’s two free throws with 10.9 seconds left in the game completed a St. Mary’s University rally from 14-points down with seven minutes left and gave the Rattlers a 72-71 victory over Huston-Tillotson University in men’s basketball action Wednesday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
With 7:20 left in the game the Rattlers trailed 64-50 and looked to be finished. Jeff Campbell (Fr., Allen) hit a driving lay-up to make it a 12-point game. Nick Morey (Sr., Belpre, Ohio) followed with baskets on the next three Rattler possessions to cut the deficit to just six points at 64-58 with 5:06 left. Robert Hartfield responded with his lone three-pointer of the game to give the Rams a nine-point lead with 4:12 left.
After the teams traded baskets Darren Lee (Jr., Stockton, Calif.) hit a three-pointer with 1:37 left to cut the lead to just five points at 69-64. Smith (Fr., San Antonio) then stole the inbound and Morey made it a three point game with a short jumper with 1:07 left. Gabe Haskins made just one-of-two free throws on the next possession for the Rams and Lee cut the Ram lead even further with a lay-up with 40 seconds left, making the score 70-68. Hartfield was fouled by the Rattlers on the inbound, but he also made just one-of-two free throws.
Morey was fouled going up for a basket on the next Rattler possession and hit both free throws to cut the lead to just one. Again the Rattlers fouled Hartfield, but this time he missed both free throws with 21 seconds left in the game. The Rattlers found Smith, who was fouled by Jordan Pratt with 10.9 seconds left. Smith coolly hit both free throws to give the Rattlers the win.
Morey led the way for the Rattlers with a season high 25 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Smith had 16 points and seven rebounds, Curtis Mitchell (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis.) had 13 points and Lee added 12 points.
After hitting on nine of their first 10 free throws, the Rams ended the game making just two of seven, opening the door for the Rattlers. St. Mary’s finished the game with a 22-7 run over the final 7:20. Haskins led the Rams with 28 points, one of four HTU players scoring in double figures.
With the win the Rattlers broke a two-game losing streak and evened their record at 4-4 this season. HTU fell to 3-7. St. Mary’s will return to action this Saturday when they play in the River City Classic Tournament. The tournament will feature some of the best teams in the South Central Region, with play starting at 10:30 a.m. at Bill Greehey Arena. St. Mary’s will play the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live over the internet at www.rattlerathletics.com.