Trailblazers spoil Rio’s Tuesday matinee
Randy Payton, Special to the Gallipolis Daily Tribune
RIO GRANDE — Ohio Christian University used a 26-5 run that bridged the final 4-1/2 minutes of the first half and the first 4-1/2 minutes of the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a 16-point lead and the Trailblazers held on down the stretch for a 78-70 win over the University of Rio Grande, Tuesday afternoon, in non-conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
OCU (6-9) avenged an earlier loss to the RedStorm and snapped a four-game losing slide with the victory — its first in seven all-time meetings with Rio Grande.
The Trailblazers’ victory also spoiled Champions of Character Day for the matinee crowd of 427 fans, which included the student body from Rio Grande Elementary School.
Rio Grande slipped to 7-4 with the loss.
“Give them credit. They played with more toughness, they took the ball to the hole and they finished — we didn’t,” said Rio Grande head coach Ken French. “We got up 14 more shots than they did and a lot of the shots that we missed were soft, one-handed and off of one foot. We just didn’t play well and, until we learn to make the adjustment and avoid those kind of shots time after time after time waiting for the officials to bail us out, we’re not going to be successful.”
The RedStorm grabbed their first lead of the contest, 21-20, after a conventional three-point play by sophomore forward Phillip Hertz with 8:13 left in the first half and enjoyed their largest lead of the day — a 30-25 advantage following a basket by sophomore guard D.D. Joiner with 4:22 remaining before the intermission — before OCU closed the half on a 14-2 run to take a seven-point lead at the break.
The Trailblazers picked up where they left off at the start of the second stanza, scoring 12 of the first 15 points in the period to take a 51-35 lead following a bucket by Danny Schrock with 15:30 left in the game.
Rio Grande’s first field goal of the second half didn’t come until freshman forward Jalen Harris canned a jumper at the 13:31 mark and OCU went on to build an 18-point lead, 55-37, after a layup by Ernie McCoy with 12:26 left.
The RedStorm slowly chipped away at the deficit over the next nine minutes and closed the gap to six, 65-59, following a driving layup by Hertz with 3:44 left, but they got no closer the rest of the way as the Trailblazers built the lead back to as many as 13 points inside the final minute.
Rio Grande shot just 32.9 percent for the game (23-for-70), including a 3-for-18 showing from the three-point line.
Ohio Christian survived 20 turnovers by shooting 48 percent from the floor (27-for-56) and out rebounding Rio, 46-37.
Wesley Russell has 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead OCU, while Evan Mills added 15 points and Evin Bartlett finished with 13 points and four assists. Schrock also had 11 points in the victory.
Hertz topped Rio Grande with 17 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Ricky Tisdale and Joiner finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday, taking on NCAA Division I Central Florida in a 4 p.m. tipoff at the UCF Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Knights are coached by Point Pleasant native and former Marshall University head coach Donnie Jones.
The RedStorm will face NAIA Southeastern University on Sunday, at 5 p.m., in the final game of the two-day classic.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Local Gas Prices