|Posted November 29, 2008|
Smith's career night lifts Pack to overtime win
CANYON, Tex. - Good players fluorish in dire situations, and Pack senior Rome Smith (Sr., Denver, Colo.) did just that Saturday night.
In the consolation match at the West Texas A&M Thanksgiving Tournament, Smith scored a career-high 32 points, 7 of which coming in overtime, as the Pack came away with a 69-66 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State.
The ThunderWolves' situation - having been engaged in an overtime game at all - arose from a flat second half. After a first half in which the Pack took a 37-22 lead into halftime, Pack shooters came up flat. The ThunderWolves shot just 29 percent from the field in the second half, compared to a 54 percent effort in the first half, allowing Panhandle to get back into the game.
The end of the second half saw the Pack in front by two points, 60-58, with one minute remaining. But the ThunderWolves were unable to protect the lead, giving up a jumper to Panhandle's leading scorer, Marques Loftis, with just six seconds remaining, to tie the game at 60.
Smith had a chance to win the game in the final second, going to the free throw line. But Smith missed a shot at being a hero, keeping the game deadlocked at 60 and ushering in an overtime period with momentum squarely in the hands of the Aggies.
But Smith was eager to redeem himself.
Smith was 1-for-2 from three-point range and 4-for-5 from the line in the overtime period, but more importantly, he excelled defensively and single-handedly brought momentum back to the Pack. He recorded two steals and two defensive boards in the period, giving the Pack the chances it needed to secure the win.
With 10 seconds remaining and the Pack trailing by one, 66-65, Smith didn't disappoint at the line, sinking his two free throws and later adding two more when Panhandle tried to foul its way back into the lead, icing the Pack's win.
Smith's 32 points were the most any ThunderWolf player has scored since Ty McTyer sank 34 on Dec. 30, 2006 against UC-Colorado Springs. He was 7-for-11 from three, 10-for-17 from the field, and added seven rebounds and three steals.
The Pack also got huge games from its point guard tandem of Jordan Surratt (Sr., Morgantown, W.V.) and Dwayne Wright (Jr., Seattle, Wash.), who each added five assists and helped the Pack to turn 16 assists, its highest team assist total in two years. Daniel Pierce (So., Edgewood, N.M.) led the team in rebounds with 10, his career high, and Marc Williams (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) was a sniff away from a double-double, adding 11 points and 8 boards.
The ThunderWolves' win improves their 2008 mark to 2-3. The Pack will return to action next weekend when they host Seattle Pacific and Johnson & Wales (CO) at the Chuck Stephens Classic at CSU-Pueblo on Friday and Saturday.