WILMORE, Ky. — Greg Wallace scored a career-high 19 points, including four in a game-ending 6-0 run, to lead the University of Rio Grande past Asbury University, 64-61, Tuesday night, in River States Conference men’s basketball action at the Luce Activities Building.
The RedStorm, who stopped a two-game losing slide, improved to 10-12 overall and 3-5 in league play with the win – its first-ever triumph at Asbury.
The Eagles, who ended Rio’s season a year ago in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament, slipped to 7-14 overall and 1-7 inside the RSC.
Asbury led 26-22 after a layup by Caleb Bonny with 6:26 left in the first half, but Rio Grande reeled off 12 consecutive points over the next five minutes to grab an eight-point lead of its own.
The RedStorm eventually settled for a six-point edge at the intermission before taking their largest lead of the game, 41-32, following a bucket by Wallace with 17:27 remaining in the contest.
That lead held up for all but 21 seconds of the next 16 minutes until consecutive baskets by Leander Ridgeway gave the Eagles a 61-58 advantage with 1:17 left to play.
Ridgeway’s points would be the final scored by Asbury in the contest.
Junior Bobby Anderson (Catlettsburg, KY) canned a jumper with 56.9 seconds left to get Rio within one and Wallace scored off of an offensive rebound with 18.5 seconds left to give the RedStorm the lead for good.
Wallace, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, added a pair of free throws with 10.3 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 64-61 and set the stage for a last-gasp attempt by the Eagles to force overtime.
Eric Powell misfired on a three-pointer from the left wing with four seconds left and, after gaining control of the ball in a mad scramble for the rebound, Jamiel Goliday’s heave from the right wing as the final buzzer sounded was off the mark.
Rio Grande shot 47 percent for the game (24-for-51) and committed only 13 turnovers, but managed to get the win despite hitting just 11 of its 18 free throw attempts (61.1%).
Asbury was even worse at the charity stripe, going 7-for-16 (43.8%). The Eagles also shot just 39 percent from the field (24-for-61) in a game that featured eight ties and seven lead changes.
Wallace also had a game-high nine rebounds for Rio, while sophomore Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY) had 11 points and a game-best four assists.
Ridgeway had 18 points and three steals to pace Asbury, while Siah Holifield had 14 points and two assists.
Drew Delatte had eight rebounds in a losing cause for the Eagles.
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday night when it opens a three-game homestand against Alice Lloyd College.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Faculty/Staff Appreciation ceremonies will take place following the conclusion of the women’s game and the start of the men’s contest.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.