With six seconds left in overtime, West Alabama's Steven Samuels got the inbound pass and worked from one side of the court to the other with DSU's Cornell Knight draped all over him.
Despite the good defense, Samuels managed to get a fall away jump shot off as time expired to win the game.
"That shot alone did not beat us. There were things in the course of the game that beat us. I thought we defended that play well. When a guy has to shoot a leaning, falling down shot that has to bank in, obviously it's not a bad job defensively," said DSU head coach Jim Boone.
"I have never been in a game where the ball was taken out of our hands as many times as it was tonight. We have to do better. We can’t continue to jump out and take the lead and then have empty possessions. We had more illegal screens called on us tonight then we have the entire season," Boone added.
The Statesmen fell to 5-9 with a 1-5 mark in the GSC, while the Tigers improved to 6-7 overall with a 2-4 record in the conference.
The Statesmen led the Tigers 31-26 at halftime. As the second half progressed, the Statesmen and the Tigers tied the contest three times and had four lead changes.
With under four minutes remaining in regulation, the Statesmen had a 52-50 lead. Ryan Smith came up with a huge steal with 3:10 left on the clock to give the Statesmen the ball, but DSU was stopped and West Alabama came away with the ball. On the next possession. Smith came up clutch again as he drew a charging foul on Jack Hill to give the ball back to the Statesmen.
Once again, the Statesmen missed the shot as Terry Leake's 13-foot jump shot missed its mark.
With 1:45 left in the game, West Alabama's Sandy Underwood was fouled and made both free throws to tie the game at 52-52.
After two misses from each team, the game looked up as Smith was fouled with 40 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately for Smith and the Statesmen, he missed both free throws.
Smith made up for his missed free throws on defense as he came up with a blocked shot that went out of bounds with seven seconds on the shot clock and 11 on the game clock. Good defense by the Statesmen forced a shot clock violation and with 3.4 seconds on the clock DSU's Cornell Knight's heave hit the front of the rim to send the game into overtime.
In overtime the Statesmen and Tigers came out firing. Leake hit a base line jump shot with 4:45 on the clock for a 54-52 lead.
With 4:20 on the clock Mychal Bester hit a shot in the lane to tie the game up at 54-54. Delta State's Matt Allbritton came right back and hit a jump shot for a 56-64 lead. The game stayed that way until Samuels heated up and hit a three-point shot with 2:25 on the clock for a 57-56 West Alabama lead. Allbritton came right back and hit a three-point shot of his own to give the Statesmen a 59-57 lead with two minutes on the clock.
With 1:40 left in overtime, Samuels hit another three-point shot to give West Alabama a 60-59 lead. Smith was fouled on Delta State's next possession and hit one free throw to tie the game at 60-60 with 1:20 left in overtime.
On West Alabama's next possession, the Tigers missed their shot and Leake rebounded the ball. The Statesmen got the ball up court. With 13 seconds on the shot clock and 24 seconds on the game clock, DSU called timeout.
The Statesmen came out of the break and ran their play that ended up in the hands of Jack Madgen. His shot fell short and West Alabama rebounded and raced up court for the game winning layup, but Knight had other plans as he came across court to chase down and block Desmond Raymond's shot out of bounds with 6.5 seconds on the clock. That's when Samuels' magic happened to give the Tigers the victory.
Allbritton led the Statesmen with 18 points on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the three-point line. Leake and Madgen finished with nine points each, and Zelvin Smith scored eight points.
Samuels led West Alabama with a game high 21 points, followed by Hill with 12.
The Statesmen return to the court at 4 p.m. Saturday in Cleveland against the University of West Georgia in another GSC contest.