CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande bolted to a 15-point lead just under eight minutes into the game and never looked back, rolling to a 90-64 rout of Ohio Christian University, Thursday night, in men’s basketball action at the Maxwell Center.
Rio Grande, which won for a third consecutive time, improved to 13-8 and completed a regular season sweep of the Trailblazers.
Ohio Christian dropped to 4-12 with a third straight loss.
Rio Grande used an 11-0 run, culminated by a three-point goal from freshman Andrew Shull (Milton, WV), to take a 23-8 lead with 12:10 remaining in the first half.
OCU battled back to close the gap to 34-26 after a three-pointer by Ben Casey with 4:08 left before the intermission, but the hosts got no closer the rest of the way.
In fact, Rio Grande followed up Casey’s trifecta with a 15-0 run that bridged the remainder of the opening half and the first 1:19 of the second half to take a 49-26 lead following a pair of free throws by sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) with 18:41 left in the contest.
The RedStorm continued to add to their advantage, pushing the cushion to as many as 30 points, 67-37, after a bucket by Tadic with 11:20 remaining.
The Trailblazers, who connected on a season-high 12 three-point goals in the loss, cut the deficit to 18 points, 77-59, when Teron Pittman connected on one of two free throw opportunites with 5:25 left to play, but Rio scored 13 of the game’s final 18 points to set the final margin of victory.
Tadic had a game-high 24 points to lead five double-digit scorers for the RedStorm. He also handed out a game-high five assists.
Shull added 18 points and game-best four steals, while sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) had 16 points and two blocked shots in the winning effort.
Senior Cam Schreiter (Mason, OH) and freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) tossed in 15 and 11 points, respectively, for Rio Grande, while sophomore Taylor Mack (Akron, OH) yanked down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Rio shot 56 percent from the floor in the opening half (18-for-32) and finished the game 33-for-63 (52.4%) overall, including 12 three-pointers of its own.
The RedStorm also were perfect in their 12 free throw attempts, while committing just eight turnovers and enjoying a whopping 34-19 edge in rebounding.
Ohio Christian was led by Titus Burns, who hit seven trifectas en route to a career-high 23 points. Casey finished with 18 points and four rebounds.
Justin Barksdale and Juan Woods, who along with Casey were the Trailblazers’ top three scorers for the season entering the contest, were both limited to just two points. Barksdale’s points came with just 4:01 left in the game.
OCU finished 22-for-50 from the floor overall (44.0%) and committed 15 turnovers of their own, leading to a 21-7 advantage for Rio in points off of the miscues.
Rio Grande is scheduled to close out its regular season schedule next Thursday when Point Park University visits the Newt Oliver Arena for Senior Night.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.