RIO GRANDE, Ohio — In terms of overall effort, University of Rio Grande head coach Ken French called it his team’s worst performance of the season.
The fact that it happened against one of the top teams in the country made things even uglier.
Indiana University Southeast bolted to a 22-point halftime lead and never looked back, cruising to a 93-63 over the RedStorm, Saturday afternoon, in River States Conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Grenadiers, ranked No. 25 in the latest NAIA DII coaches’ poll, improved to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in conference play with the victory.
Rio Grande dropped to 7-11 overall and 1-4 inside the RSC with a fifth straight loss.
The RedStorm trailed 8-0 out of the gate, although they did absorb the early blow and rallied to within 10-8 on a three-pointer by junior Cameron Schreiter (Mason, OH) with 15:24 remaining in the first half.
IU Southeast countered with a 22-9 run of its own over the next seven minutes to build a 15-point cushion and, from that point, the rout was on.
Rio did manage to slice the deficit to single digits when a three-pointer by sophomore Trey Kelley (Minford, OH) made it 32-23 with 6:45 left before halftime, but the Grenadiers reeled off an 18-5 run to close the half and build a 22-point cushion at the intermission.
Rio Grande got no closer the rest of the way and trailed by as many as 40 points, 85-45, after IU Southeast’s Kerieon Douglas hit one of two free throw attempts with 7:36 remaining in the contest.
IU Southeast, which removed its starters with just over 14 minutes left to play, had all but one of its 14 players score at least two points.
Jamie Johnson had a game-high 17 points, five assists and four steals to pace the winning effort, while Kerry Smith and Brandon Johnson finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Grenadiers shot 56.5 percent overall (35-for-62) and 58.8 percent from three-point range (10-for-17) in the win.
Rio Grande shot just 36 percent overall (21-for-58) and committed 17 turnovers which led directly to 21 IUS points.
Schreiter led the RedStorm with 13 points in a losing cause, while Kelley netted 12 points and sophomore Kyle Lamotte (Mason, OH) finished with 10 points.
Senior Earl Russell (Warrington, England) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and tied junior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) for team honors with three assists.
Rio Grande returns to action next Thursday when 11th-ranked West Virginia University-Tech visits for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.