WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — Freshman guard D.D. Joiner scored five of his career-high 42 points in the second overtime period to lead the University of Rio Grande past the University of the Cumberlands, 78-69, Thursday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action at the O. Wayne Rollins Center.
The RedStorm improved to 9-17 overall and 4-12 in the MSC with the victory, their first on the road this season.
The win also kept head coach Ken French’s club in the hunt for the final spot in the upcoming MSC Tournament with just four regular season games remaining to be played.
Cumberlands, which opened the season with 12 straight wins and, for one week, was the top-ranked team in NAIA Division I, slipped to 17-10 overall and 8-9 in conference play.
Joiner was magical from the outset for the RedStorm, who were playing their second straight overtime contest.
The Columbus, Ohio native scored 16 points in the first half, 19 in the second half, two in the first overtime period and five in the second extra session. He finished 15-of-24 from the field overall, including 9-for-16 from three-point range, while also adding six rebounds and three assists.
Joiner’s 42 points established a new Mid-South Conference single-game high for the season and his 15 field goals tied the single-game season mark in the MSC, equaling the feat established by Campbellsville’s Vernon Payne against WVU Tech on Feb. 4.
Joiner’s nine three-point goals were also one shy of the school record set by P.J. Rase in a 95-51 win over Virginia Intermont on November 27, 2009.
Both teams took turns at holding the upper hand in a see-saw affair that featured seven ties and 15 lead changes.
Rio Grande led by as many as seven points in the opening half, while also enjoyed a seven-point lead with 9:52 remaining in regulation.
The RedStorm rallied, though, and took a 59-57 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Evan Legg with 2:15 left, but the Patriots tied the game just over a minute later on a driving layup by Antonio Bumpus and too a 61-59 on a bucket by Benito Santiago, Jr. with 46.6 left.
Joiner connected on two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to tie the game again, while Bumpus missed a pair of shots in the final five seconds to send the game to overtime.
A pair of free throws by sophomore guard Travis Elliott gave Rio Grande the lead just under two minutes into the first overtime, but UC responded with six straight points of its own and led 67-63 after Santiago, Jr. hit one of two free throw tries with 1:16 left.
Joiner’s running jumper with 58.9 seconds left cut the deficit in half and a pair of free throws by senior center Dominick Haynes knotted the score at 67-all with 44.6 seconds showing on the clock.
Rio Grande had a final opportunity for a dramatic win after the Patriots missed a would-be game-winner with three seconds remaining, but a heave from Joiner just inside the midcourt stripe hit off the rim as the buzzer sounded sending the game to a second overtime.
Joiner scored on an offensive rebound 41 seconds into the second extra period and added a three-pointer with 2:40 remaining to give the RedStorm a 72-67 edge and, while UC’s Shaquille Lowery hit a pair of free throws 18 seconds later to make it a three-point game, the Patriots got no closer.
Rio Grande closed the game on a 6-0 run to nail down the win.
Aside from Joiner, no other Rio player reached double figures. Haynes and Legg added nine points apiece, while junior forward Bruce Komakech snared a game-high 10 rebounds.
Santiago, Jr., the son of the former MLB All-Star catcher, had 26 points to lead Cumberlands. He also had seven rebounds and a game-high five steals.
Bumpus added 23 points and Lowery netted 11 in a losing cause for the Patriots.