Quick start fuels Rio men past Celtics

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The University of Rio Grande scored 20 of the game’s first 24 points and never looked back, cruising to a 90-62 victory over Carlow University, Tuesday night, in River States Conference men’s basketball action at Oakland Catholic High School’s Donahue Pavilion.

The RedStorm snapped a brief two-game losing slide and improved to 2-3 with the win in its conference opener.

The loss left Carlow at 1-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.

Rio Grande continued to build on its early advantage throughout the first half and enjoyed a 29-point cushion, 51-22, by the intermission.

The RedStorm’s first half blitz was the product of 19-for-35 shooting overall (54.3%), including a 10-for-21 showing from three-point range.

The host Celtics hit just seven of its 22 first half shots and was out rebounded, 24-10, in the opening 20 minutes.

Things didn’t get much better for Carlow after the break.

Rio Grande led by no less than 24 points at any stage in the second half and enjoyed its largest lead of the night — 35 points — after a layup by freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) with 1:34 remaining made it 90-55.

Wallis was making his season debut after missing the first three games of the season with a thumb injury suffered in pre-season workouts.

Rio Grande placed five players in double figures in the victory.

Sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) led the way with 18 points, while sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) and freshman Cody Lantz (Shelby, OH) netted 15 and 14 points, respectively. Blevins also blocked a pair of shots.

Sophomore Taylor Mack (Akron, OH) recorded a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, while also handing out a game-high five assists.

Freshman Khamani Smith (Fort Wayne, IN) also had 10 points in the winning effort, while fellow frosh Exauce Manissa (Pointe Noire, The Congo) pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.

Carlow was led by Marcus Millien’s 14 points and Riley Comforti’s double-double effort of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Comfort also blocked two shots.

The loss left the Celtics at 2-13 all-time against the RedStorm.

Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Point Park for a 1 p.m. tipoff at the Newt Oliver Arena.

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.