RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Four players combined for all but four of visiting Taylor University’s entire point total as the Trojans pulled away for an 84-69 win over the University of Rio Grande, Monday evening, in non-conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Taylor snapped a three-game losing slide, evening its record at 5-5 with the victory.
Rio Grande, which suffered a second consecutive loss, slipped to 4-4.
CJ Penha equaled a career-high with 27 points for the Trojans, while Jason Hubbard and Zach Baugher netted 20 points each and Vincent Miranda tossed in 13 in the winning effort. Baugher’s effort represented a new career-high.
The game was a back-and-forth affair over the first 12-1/2 minutes with one tie and eight lead changes, but Taylor – which had all five of its starters play 33 minutes or more – went in front to stay, 22-21, on a driving layup by Penha with 7:32 left in the first half.
The lead grew to 10 points in the waning seconds of the half, but Rio managed to chop the deficit in half and closed the gap to 45-40 after an offensive rebound and putback by freshman Redeetris Richardson (Atlanta, GA) with 17:37 remaining in the game.
The Trojans answered, though, by reeling off nine straight points – including back-to-back three-point goals by Penha – and opening up a 14-point advantage, 54-40, following a free throw by Hubbard with 14:23 left to play.
Rio Grande sliced the deficit down to six points on two different occasions, the last of which came at 57-51 following a conventional three-point play by sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) with 12:18 remaining, but got no closer the rest of the way.
Taylor’s largest lead of the night was 16 points, 77-61, after a three-pointer by Miranda with 6:24 left in the contest.
The Trojans shot 53.6 percent overall (30-for-56), while connecting on 11 three-pointers and out rebounding the RedStorm, 37-26.
Hubbard and Miranda also grabbed nine rebounds each for Taylor, while Baugher handed out five assists.
Freshman Andrew Shull (Milton, WV) led a quartet of double-digit scorers for Rio Grande with 17 points. Sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) tossed in 16 points, while Tadic had 14 and junior Cam Harris (Amelia, VA) netted 13.
Tadic also had a game-high three steals, while Richardson had a team-high seven rebounds and freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) handed out a game-best six assists.
The RedStorm shot 58 percent from two-point range (18-for-31), but went just 9-for-29 from beyond the three-point arc (31.0%) and finished at 45 percent from the field overall (27-for-60).
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday night when the University of Pikeville visits for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.