BECKLEY, W.Va. — Thomas Hailey scored a career-high 21 points and host West Virginia University-Tech used a late first half run to pull away for a 70-56 win over the University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in River States Conference men’s basketball action at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
The Golden Bears completed a season sweep of the RedStorm, improving to 19-4 overall and 10-2 in the RSC.
Rio Grande slipped to 12-13 overall and 6-7 in league play with its third straight loss and its fifth setback in six outings.
The RedStorm trailed just 21-15 after a bucket by sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) with 6:35 left in the first half, but Tech closed the stanza on a 12-0 run to open up an 18-point cushion at the intermission.
Rio refused to go away quietly, though, and behind a second half barrage from sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) closed the gap to eight, 54-46, with 8:57 left to play.
The deficit was still a manageable nine points just over a minute-and-a-half later after a jumper by Tadic made it 59-50, but by the time the RedStorm scored again the Golden Bears had reeled off nine straight points of their own to push the lead back to 18 points and settle the issue once and for all.
Hailey and Keondre’ King did the bulk of Tech’s second half offensive damage.
Hailey, who also tallied a team-high eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, scored 14 of his points after halftime.
King scored nine of his 15 points after the break.
Andrew Work also had 15 points for the Golden Bears, who shot 66.7 percent in the second half (14-for-21) and 60.9 percent for the game (28-for-46).
Tech’s 28 field goals included 10 dunks, half of which belonged to Hailey.
Tadic led Rio Grande with a game-high 28 points, including 23 in the second half, while sophomore Taylor Mack (Akron, OH) tossed in 11.
Blevins narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds to go along with three steals, while freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) had a game-best eight assists.
The RedStorm finished 22-for-51 overall (43.1%) and 7-for-17 from three-point range (41.2%), but hit just five of 12 free throw attempts (41.7%) and was out rebounded, 30-25.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday night when Carlow University pays a visit to the Newt Oliver Arena.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.