One night after finishing off Austin Peay with a three-point play, he repeated the feat with a put-back basketball with 1.3 seconds remaining to give NC State a 60-58 win over Auburn on Sunday night in Daytona, Fl.
Smith was in the midst of his worst game of the young season, but the junior redeemed himself with his game-winning shot. The win moves the Pack to 4-0 for the year and makes them the winner of the 2009 Glenn Wilkes Classic.
Meeting for the first time in 32 years, Auburn and the Pack capped off Classic with a back and forth contest where neither team could find an offensive rhythm. Both teams struggled shooting the basketball, with the Pack shooting 36 percent and just 25 percent from behind the arc. Auburn shot 45 percent and 40 percent respectively, but lost the game at the line where it was 5-of-15 compared to 13-of-18 for the Pack.
It wasn't all positive for the Pack, though. The team may have lost starting guard C.J. Williams with an ankle injury. Williams came down awkwardly on his ankle at the 7:27 mark of the second half and did not return. The sophomore had six points on the night before leaving the game.
Three players scored in double figures for the Pack, with Horner again leading the way with a 17-point performance. Horner led the Pack all weekend, averaging 16 points a game and shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Smith finished the game with 11 points despite hitting just 4-of-14 from the field while Scott Wood added 10 points in the win.
Both teams shot terribly at the opening of the game, leading to a low-scoring first half. The Pack finished the first 20 minutes shooting just 27 percent from the field and was just 2-of-9 from the 3-point land. The Tigers caught fire in the final minutes to push their shooting up to 38 percent for the half and 4-for-13 from behind the arc. Auburn didn't help its cause at the line, however – making just 1-of-7 from the charity stripe while the Pack went 8-of-10.
The Pack still managed to score by holding onto the ball, committing just two turnovers through first 13 minutes of the game and also grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, pushing the lead to as much as nine points before the Tigers rallied to cut into the deficit. Auburn then rolled off a 15-4 run to take a three-point lead but the Pack countered in the final seconds of the half when Wood scored to make it 26-25 going into the locker room.
Horner led the way for the Pack in the first half, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting while the Pack's leading scorer Smith was held to 1-of-8 and four points. Auburn's Frankie Sullivan hit 3-of-5 on 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 11 points.
The Pack came out of the locker room with renewed enthusiasm, jumping all over the Tigers with a 13-3 run capped off by a C.J. Williams tip-in off a Dennis Horner miss. The shot gave the Pack its first double-digit advantage of the day. But the Tigers again rallied back, completely erasing the Pack's advantage to take a 49-43 lead with five minutes left.
But the Pack offense, which had hit on 2-of-16 from behind the arc to that point, suddenly found its rhythm thanks to its two point guards. Gonzalez and Mays nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game back at 49 points with four minutes to play. The two teams traded buckets from there before Smith connected on his shot in the final seconds to win it for the Pack.
NC State (4-0) will now have a few days to rest and hit the practice floor before returning to game action next weekend against New Orleans in the RBC Center.