MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Dwayne Bazemore had 16 of his game-high 19 points and 10 of his team-high 11 rebounds in the second half, leading the University of Rio Grande to a come-from-behind 71-61 win over host Mount Vernon Nazarene University in the second round of the Cougar Homecoming Classic, Saturday evening, at Ariel Arena.
The RedStorm, who rallied from a 12-point first half deficit, improved to 4-1 with the victory.
The Cougars, a former rival of Rio’s when both schools were members of the now-defunct America Mideast Conference, slipped to 2-3 with the loss.
Bazemore, a senior center from Columbus, Ohio, was 7-for-12 from the floor and 3-for-3 at the free throw line after halftime when Rio trailed 35-27.
Four other players reached double figures in the win for the RedStorm.
Senior Kevonta Black (Nashville, TN) tallied 14 points, senior D.D. Joiner (Columbus, OH) had 12, sophomore Will Hill (Worthington, OH) netted 11 points and junior Corey Cruse (Fort Mitchell, KY) finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high four assists.
Hill gave Rio the lead for good, 43-40, after connecting on a three-point goal with 15:40 left to play and the RedStorm continued to pull away, leading by as many as 15 points, 61-46, following a steal by Cruse and a jumper by sophomore DeVon Price (Pickerington, OH) with 8:00 remaining.
Mount Vernon went on a 13-2 run to pull within 63-59 after a jumper by Jordi Mas with 3:36 left, but got no closer the rest of the way.
Josh Ashwill led the Cougars with 15 points, as well as a game-high 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Patrick Lucas, Brett Vipperman and Joey Schmitz all had 10 points in the loss for MVNU.
Rio Grande returns to action on Tuesday night, hitting the road for a meeting against a former Mid-South Conference rival – the University of the Cumberlands.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the D. Wayne Rollins Center in Williamsburg, Ky.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.