E.A. Sports Today

Saks survives in OT

Wildcats need to go extra time before putting away Jacksonville to set up Friday’s showdown with White Plains

Saks' Demetrius Powell (2) comes over the top to help the Wildcats completely surround Jacksonville's Blake Morris under the basket Tuesday night. (Photo by Jason Katz)

Saks’ Demetrius Powell (2) comes over the top to help the Wildcats completely surround Jacksonville’s Blake Morris under the basket Tuesday night. (Photo by Jason Katz)

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

Comebacks in sports are often defined by players overcoming adversity and defeating all odds to get a victory. The Saks Wildcats did just that Tuesday night.

On a night that was looking as though it was going to be the Cam Horton Show, some unlikely players on the other side stole the spotlight as the Wildcats beat Jacksonville in overtime 59-58 to remain undefeated in their area and set up a huge game Friday with White Plains.

This was the game Horton pointed to after missing the first meeting with a head injury. He had 37 points and eight rebounds and was huge in the first half as the Golden Eagles opened a 34-23 lead.

Something changed though as the Wildcats (10-2, 4-0) entered the arena for the second half. Saks coach Jonathan Miller spoke to his team at halftime and said in a calm tone, “We need someone to step up.”

Quin Smith answered the call.

Smith came out firing. He went 5-of-6 on his field goal attempt and finished with 21 points. He also went 11-of-13 from the line and grabbed three rebounds. He and the Wildcats held Jacksonville to five points in the third while they scored 19.

“Jacksonville just came out of the gate faster and played harder than us in the first half,” Miller said. “We had to adjust at the half and Quin in my eyes won the game for us in the second half with his offensive play.

“When he has it going and feels confident with ball in his hands it makes us a lot better as a team. He can make plays, and even though he is not the biggest player on the court, he can step up and make big plays when we need him to.”

Jaylen Britt, normally the Wildcats’ leading scorer, finished with 11 points. Demetrius Powell had eight points. For Jacksonville after Horton, Taye Ackles had nine points and a 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation to send it into overtime.

Saks jumped on top in the overtime and stayed there.

The scrappy Wildcats overcame what could have been an ugly loss to a sub-par Jacksonville team, but put together a comeback in the second half that had everyone in the arena on the edge of their seat.

Late in the game it was apparent Saks was the cooler team as the Wildcats hit a 3 at the buzzer in the third and allowed the Golden Eagles (3-9, 2-3) to get into foul trouble.

“We don’t have the most talented players on our team,” said Miller. “But one thing we are is scrappy, and sometimes that can make the difference in a ball game.”

Saks 59, Jacksonville 58 (OT)

JACKSONVILLE (3-9, 2-3) – Cam Horton 11-25 9-11 37, Taye Ackles 3-9 0-0 9, Casey Trull 4-7 0-0 8, Will Fuller 1-1 0-0 2, Martavious Long 0-0 2-2 2, Alex Gilbert 0-2 0-0 0, Blake Morris 0-3 0-0 0, K.J. Satcher 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Bragg 0-0 0-0 0, Jay Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Tahj Kirkland 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 11-13 58.

SAKS (10-2, 4-0) – Quin Smith 5-6 11-13 21, Jaylen Britt 3-11 3-5 11, Demetrius Powell 3-5 1-2 8, Trae Hughley 3-7 0-2 6, Malik Burns 1-1 1-2 4, Demario Hughley 1-4 1-2 3, Phonso Ward 1-3 1-2 3, Landun Peters 1-2 0-0 3, Quay McCord 0-0 0-2 0, Davieuntae Booker 0-0 0-0 0, Darien Briskey 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-41 18-30 59.

Jacksonville 14 20 5 16 3 — 58
Saks 14 9 19 13 4 — 59

3-point goals: Jacksonville 9-20 (Horton 6-12, Ackles 3-8); Saks 5-15 (Britt 2-9, Powell 1-2, Burns 1-1, Peters 1-2, Briskey 0-1). Rebounds: Jacksonville 33 (Horton 8, Fuller 6); Saks 35 (D. Hughley 9, T. Hughley 7). Fouled out: Ackles. Total fouls: Jacksonville 24, Saks 15.

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