Sr Myles Smith (Davie, FL) had been cold from three-point land all evening but when the Cats needed a big three to win the game they went to the 6'0 senior and he delivered. Smith's 26ft three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left gave the visiting Wildcats their Sun Conference opener win over Ave Maria University 75-72. The win also extended JWU's win streak to six games.
The Wildcats (8-1) came out on fire from long range with Sr. Quentin Tate (Staten Island, NY) knocking down three of them in the first five minutes of the game. So. Frank Bennett (Naples, FL) came off the bench to knock a couple from deep as well. His second three of the half put the Wildcats up 30-19 however the Gyrenes stormed back to cut the lead to 42-35 at the half. Tate and Bennett led the Cats in the first half with 11pts each.
JWU held the lead the entire game until seven minutes remaining when the Gyrenes went on a 8-2 run to take a 59-53 lead. The Cats however remained poised and slowly chipped away at the lead. Three big baskets by Tate, free throws by Smith and a long range bomb from Bennett gave the Cats a 67-66 advantage but AMU answered with a three of their own to go up again by two points. Down 72-69 with 1:02 to go, Smith manufactured an old-fashion three on a drive to the rim and the freebie from the charity stripe to knot it up at 72. JWU forced a turnover however the Wildcats turned it right back over with 34.9 seconds remaining. Once again the Wildcats defense stepped up to force a turnover with 8.7 left to go. That is when Smith worked his magic in the final seconds with the long range game winner.
"Wow, we have 17 more conference games after this one. This league is so tough. I am so proud of the resiliency of this group of young men. They seem to step up on both ends when it counts the most. Myles was a little off tonight but boy did he come up big in the final minute. The big bucket and free throw then the huge three-pointer to end it. Quentin and Frank both came up huge as well. I'm really happy for my guys" said Coach David Graham.
Tate and Smith led the way with 17pts to pace the Cats. Bennett had 14pts off the bench.
The Wildcats are back in action on Tuesday, December 10 vs crosstown rival St Thomas University at 7pm.