Wise, Va. - Tied with five seconds to play, Virginia Intermont inbounded the ball with its sights set on a win. However, the Cobras were unable to get a shot as Darius Smith stole the ball, raced the length of the floor, and made a contested layup with 0.4 seconds remaining to give UVa-Wise a come from behind 53-51 victory.
The season opener for UVa-Wise saw the host struggle from the field. The Cavs hit just 29.3 percent from the field while making just four of 32 three point attempts. The Cobras were nearly just as cold from the field as the visitors made just 32.1 percent of its shots from the field. A defensive struggle, the game saw the lead change hands nine times while being tied eight times.
Despite a poor shooting performance, UVa-Wise took a 28-26 lead into the locker room. The Cavs forced 12 first half turnovers that led to 11 points. In the opening half, Javon Moore scored nine of his team-high 13 points for UVa-Wise while Justin Morris scored 11 of his game-high 23 points for Virginia Intermont.
Virginia Intermont appeared to be on the cusp of putting the game away late in the second half. Following two consecutive made free throws by Morris, the Cobras led 50-45 with 2:11 to play in the contest. From there, Moore connected on a scoop shot from inside the paint to cut the lead to three. One possession later, Max Sorokin made one of two free throws for the Cobras to extend the lead back to two possessions. The free throw would be the last point Virginia Intermont would score in the game. Sorokin missed the second free throw but, his teammate Joshua Hart grabbed one of his 18 rebounds in the game. The forward however would turn the ball over giving UVa-Wise the ball down four with 1:11 to play.
On the subsequent possession, James Turner was fouled and made one of two free throws to once again cut the lead to three. The Cobras inability to possess the basketball continued as Darius Smith stole the ball from Morris and raced to the other end of the floor; Smith was fouled on a missed layup attempt and headed to the free throw line. Like Turner, Smith made one of two free throws, this time it cut the lead to two at 51-49. Following a Charles George steal and layup, the Cavs tied the game at 51 with 28 seconds to play.
Holding the ball in effort to take the last shot of the game, Virginia Intermont called timeout with five seconds to go. The Cobras inbounded the ball only to see Smith steal the ball from Morris and race the length of the floor to score on a layup with 0.4 seconds to play. The turnover was the fourth in the final 90 seconds for Virginia Intermont. On its final possession, the Cobras threw the ball the length of the floor out of bounds to turn the ball over to the Cavs. The turnover secured the victory for UVa-Wise.
In the win, Moore recorded a double-double in his first game as a Cav. The Falls Church, Virginia native collected 11 rebounds in addition to his team-high 13 points. Charles George, 11 points, Matt Day 11 points, and Smith 10 points also finished in double figure scoring for UVa-Wise.
Virginia Intermont was led by Morris' 23 points on nine of 23 shooting while Sorokin and Hart combined for 37 rebounds.
The victory gave Head Coach Lee Clark career win 199. His Cavaliers will try to give the veteran coach win number 200 when they take on West Virginia Tech at 4:00 p.m. in the final game of the 2012 Cavalier Classic. In the opening game of the event, Bethel University knocked off West Virginia Tech 78-63. With the win, UVa-Wise moves to 1-0 on the year while Virginia Intermont falls to 0-2.
You can watch tomorrow's UVa-Wise game against West Virginia Tech live on www.uvawisecavs.com