Wise, Va. - Darius Smith split a pair of free throws with less than three seconds remaining as UVa-Wise overcame a seven point halftime deficit to post a 64-63 victory over Bluefield College on Saturday. With the win, UVa-Wise (10-8, 6-7 Mid-South) completes a season sweep over Bluefield (6-14, 2-12 Mid-South). The Cavs won 82-72 on January 3rd in Bluefield.
The Rams entered the locker room with a seven point lead thanks to a 9-0 run over the final 2:03 of the opening half. Bluefield forward Byron Carpenter went 6-11 from the field in the opening half en route to a team-high 13 first half points. Javon Moore scored 17 points on 7-14 shooting in the half to keep the Cavs within striking distance.
In the second half, UVa-Wise's Deon Boyce took over the game. The junior forward scored 18 second half points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the half en route to his second 20-20 game of the season; Boyce finished with 20 points and 24 rebounds. Despite the efforts from Boyce, the two teams remained tied with 27 seconds to go following a made basket by the Rams' Josh Nesbitt.
A familiar scene would play out at the Prior Center as point guard Darius Smith drove to the basket with three seconds remaining. A foul was spotted on the drive sending Smith to the line for two shots; the junior was also fouled late in UVa-Wise 81-80 victory over Cumberland University on January 10th. As with the Cumberland game, Smith split the free throws, this time giving UVa-Wise a 64-63 lead. Bluefield inbounded the basketball but could only manage a desperation half-court heave at the buzzer that landed short of the goal.
Moore led all scorers with 21 points while Jermaine Wright scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, and handed out three assists without committing a turnover in the win. Bluefield's Kearsten Marion joined Carpenter for team-high scoring honors with 15 points. Pierre Walters added 14 points for Bluefield who dropped its 10th consecutive game.
The Cavs will return to action on Thursday when the team travels to St. Catharine for an 8:00 p.m. tip. You can hear all the action on www.uvawisecavs.com