Nick Smith hit three free throws in the final four seconds of regulation to secure Southwest Minnesota State a 74-73 victory over the Wayne State Wildcats at the Rice Auditorium on Saturday evening.
With 4:16 remaining in the game, SMSU led by 14 points but the lead would be dissolved by a late Wildcat run that would put Wayne State to within a point with 26 seconds left.
Nick Smith would pull down an offensive rebound off a free throw he missed with three seconds left. Smith was fouled on the rebound and headed back to the line and converted on the final attempts to put SMSU up by four.
The free throws proved to be the deciding points as LaTroy Wright hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. SMSU held on for just its fifth victory over Wayne State in Rice Auditorium in school history.
SMSU would open the game with three unanswered layups by Nick Smith and Matt Zager, the 6-0 run forced a Wildcat timeout just three minutes into the contest. SMSU would grow its largest lead of the half to eight as Matt Zager made good on two free throws with 2:22 remaining in the half.
SMSU shot 50 percent (12-24) from the floor in the first half including 50 percent (3-6) from 3-point range. Nick Smith led the Mustangs with 10 first-half points to go with his four rebounds, he shot a perfect 100 percent (4-4) from the floor.
SMSU shot 58.8 percent in the second half but committed seven turnovers in the last four minutes.
SMSU was led by Nick Smith who netted 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Matt Zager was the only other Mustang to reach double-digits as the junior had 16 points.
SMSU was outrebounded by Wayne State, 36-31 and committed 18 turnovers to WSC’s 13.
The Mustangs will close-out the fall semester with two games at the R/A Facility in Marshall as SMSU will host Minnesota State, Mankato on Friday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. and Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.
Courtesy: Adam Henning, Assistant Athletic Communications Director, Southwest Minnesota State University