Rio Grande men rally past Ohio Christian

Randy Payton Special to OVP

December 5, 2013

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio - Ricky Tisdale scored a career-high 16 points, including 13 in a second half comeback effort, as the University of Rio Grande erased a 10-point first half deficit and rallied for a 70-63 win over Ohio Christian University, Tuesday night, in non-conference men’s basketball action at the Maxwell Leadership Center.

Rio Grande, which won for the second straight time, improved to 5-2 with the victory.

Ohio Christian dropped to 5-6 overall with the loss and remained winless in six all-time meetings with Rio.

Tisdale, a senior guard from Bolivar, Tenn., was one of five players to finish in double figures for the RedStorm. Sophomore guard D.D. Joiner (Columbus, OH) netted 14 points off the bench.

Junior guard Evan Legg (Piketon, OH) and freshman forward Bilal Young (Cleveland, OH) had 12 points each and senior guard Jermaine Warmack (Orange, NJ) finished with 10 points.

Three of the five - Tisdale, Joiner and Young - had 10 or more points in the second half, as Rio Grande shot a blistering 60 percent from the floor.

“It was a struggle for a big part of the night, but I thought we played well down the stretch,” Rio Grande head coach Ken French said. “We took some punches tonight, but we held in there and somehow found a way to win.”

The RedStorm’s hot-shooting second half came on the heels of a 29 percent performance in the opening stanza - a figure which contributed to a pair of 10-point leads for the Trailblazers and an eventual 32-25 advantage for OCU at the intermission.

“The first half was the worst 20 minutes of basketball we’ve played all year,” said French, whose team was playing for the first time since November 23. “It looked like we’d been on break for 10 days didn’t it? We settled for way too many outside jumpers and we’re not very good when we do that.”

Rio Grande opened the second half on a 12-3 run to take a 37-35 lead on a bucket by Joiner with 13:41 remaining in the game, but OCU went back in front, 47-46, on a jumper by Joe

Collier with 9:24 left in the contest.

The lead went back-and-forth over the next four minutes before a 12-2 Rio run turned a one-point deficit into a nine-point lead, 63-54, after a layup by Young with 3:00 left.

The Trailblazers got as close as 65-63 following a steal and lay-in by Wesley Russell with 22.7 seconds left, but the RedStorm closed the game on a 5-0 run - going 5-for-6 from the

free throw line - to seal the deal.

OCU outrebounded Rio, 48-43, but the Trailblazers shot just 32.9 percent from the field overall (25-for-76) and just 23.3 percent from three-point range (7-for-30).

Russell had a team-high 12 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in the loss, while Nic Baker added 10 points and Evan Mills had 13 rebounds.

Young also had 14 rebounds and four blocked shots in the win for Rio, while Tisdale had four assists.

Rio Grande returns to action on Friday night against Berea (Ky.) College in the opening round of Taylor University’s Ivanhoe Classic in Upland, Indiana. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. EST.