WVU Tech outlasts RedStorm

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Sophomore standout Gunner Short was back in the lineup for the University of Rio Grande men’s basketball team on Thursday night, but his return – and subsequent performance – were overshadowed by a Junior and two freshmen.

West Virginia University-Tech’s Junior Arrey poured in a career-high 35 points, while the freshman duo of Andrew Work and Darrin Martin combined for 35 points of their own, to fuel the Golden Bears in a come-from-behind 84-79 victory over the RedStorm in River States Conference action at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

Tech, which won for a third straight and the six straight time against Rio, improved to 11-6 overall and 6-1 in conference play.

The RedStorm fell to 9-12 overall and 2-5 in league play with the loss.

Arrey finished 15-for-17 from the floor, while also finishing with a team-high six rebounds. He also had a game-high five assists and four steals, while surpassing the 1,000-point mark for his career in the process.

Work equaled a career-high with 18 points in the winning effort, while Martin scored 10 of his 17 points after halftime.

Short, playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury during the second half of a win at Brescia University last Thursday, paced a quartet of double-digit scored for Rio Grande by equaling his career-high of 31 points. The Catlettsburg, Ky. product went 10-for-16 overall, 4-for-5 from three-point range and 7-for-11 at the free throw line.

The contest was a back-and-forth affair for most of the night, producing 12 ties and 12 lead changes.

Rio Grande led by as many as seven points, 30-23, with just under 9-1/2 minutes left in the opening half before settling for a 42-39 advantage at the intermission. The RedStorm shot 57 percent (16-for-28) in the opening 20 minutes.

WVU-Tech, which played without Tamon Scruggs – its second-leading scorer and top rebounder – eventually took the lead for good when Arrey snapped the game’s final tie with a layup that gave the Golden Bears a 70-68 cushion with 6:46 left to play.

Rio Grande sliced the deficit in half just under a minute-and-a-half later when Short connected on one of two free throw chances with 5:19 remaining, but Tech responded with an 11-3 run to take its largest lead of the night, 81-72, following a three-pointer by Dominik King with 1:39 remaining.

King’s three-pointer was the Golden Bears’ only successful attempt from beyond the arc in the game.

Short drained consecutive three-pointers to draw Rio as close as 81-78 with 53.5 seconds left, but Tech’s Juvante’ Hayes went 3-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 24.6 seconds to settle the issue once and for all.

The Golden Bears shot 56.7 percent in the second half (17-for-30) and 52.5% for the game (32-for-61), while being credited with only three turnovers.

Rio Grande finished at an even 50 percent from the floor (26-for-52) and outrebounded its host, 39-29. Nine of the team’s 14 turnovers came in the second half.

In addition to Short’s offensive showing, the RedStorm got 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds from freshman Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH).

Senior Greg Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) added 11 points and eight rebounds in a losing cause, while fellow senior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) had 10 points – all in the second half – and a team-best four assists.

Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action next Tuesday when it completes a four-game road swing at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.