RIO GRANDE, Ohio — For those who happened to be in attendance, Saturday’s Mid-South Conference men’s basketball matchup between the University of Rio Grande and Campbellsville University is one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
The host RedStorm survived a stumble late in regulation and used an 11-0 run in the second overtime period to pull away for a wild 132-121 victory over the Tigers at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande improved to 13-5 overall and 6-1 in the MSC with the win - their sixth consecutive triumph.
The victory also gave Rio its first six-game winning streak since the 2008-09 season and also equaled the program’s season-high for wins in conference play since joining the MSC five seasons ago.
“I said before the game that it was going to be intense - and it was,” said Rio Grande head coach Ken French. “But we survived it.”
The 132 points scored are the most in a single-game by a Rio team since Jan. 26, 1995 when the then-Redmen posted a 135-90 win over Ohio Valley College and are the fifth-highest single-game total in school history.
Mid-South Conference officials could not immediately confirm if the game was the highest-scoring contest in league history, but the 253 combined points are the most in any MSC game dating back to the 2006-07 season.
Since the 2006-07 campaign, 204 points represented the highest combined total in an MSC contest and the total had been reached twice. Georgetown defeated Pikeville, 105-99, in conference tournament play on Mar. 9, 2008 and Georgetown also posted a 104-100 win over Bluefield last season on Feb. 16, 2013.
The contest is the highest-scoring game in Rio Grande history, surpassing the 248 combined points scored in a 157-91 home loss to Cedarville on Nov. 7, 2009.
Saturday’s shootout was also the first time that a Rio men’s team played in a game where both squads surpassed the 100-point mark since a 107-100 loss to Walsh University on Jan. 31, 2009.
“Both teams played hard. Both teams had different guys step up and make plays. It had to be fun to watch,” French said.
Rio Grande rallied from a seven-point first half deficit to take a 54-45 lead at the intermission and extended its advantage to as many as 12 points, 94-82, after a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Phillip Hertz (Rungsted Kyst, Denmark) with just 1:57 left in regulation.
But Campbellsville (7-9, 2-6) stormed back down the stretch behind freshman guard Miles Rice, who connected on a trio of three-point goals in the final minute and three free throws with 3.5 seconds left to knot the score at 101-101 and force the first overtime period.
A conventional three-point by Rice just 55 seconds into the overtime game the Tigers their first lead since the 5:27 mark of the first half, but Rio eventually rallied again to tie the game at 111-111 on a pair of free throws by junior forward Josh Reagan (Cleveland, OH) with 45.9 seconds left and - after a would-be game-winning 35-foot heave by Campbellsville’s Eric Gaines went in and out of the hoop as time expired - the game moved into a second extra session.
Rio senior guard Ricky Tisdale (Bolivar, TN) and Rice exchanged three-pointers inside the opening minute of the second overtime, but the RedStorm then took control with their 11-0 run over the next 3:08 to finally settle the issue once and for all.
Senior guard Jermaine Warmack (Orange, N.J.) had four points during the victory-clinching spurt, while Hertz had three points and the duo of Tisdale and sophomore guard D.D. Joiner (Columbus, OH) added two points each during the run.
Reagan had a team-high 36 points and 13 rebounds for the RedStorm before fouling out with 36.1 seconds left in the first overtime.
Warmack finished with 28 points - 20 of which came from the free throw line - in addition to a game-high nine assists and seven rebounds, while Joiner enjoyed his second straight 20-point outing with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Hertz added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Tisdale also netted 10 points for Rio Grande, which shot 48 percent from the field (38-for-79), 44 percent from three-point range (12-for-27) and connected on 44 of its 51 free throw attempts (86.3%).
The RedStorm also enjoyed a 50-37 edge in rebounding and committed just 13 turnovers.
Rice poured in a game-high 41 points - 29 of which came in the second half and overtime periods - to lead Campbellsville in a losing cause, while Elliott Young had a career-high 23 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Four other Tigers reached double figures in the loss. Gaines had 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists, Darius Clement had 15 points and three steals, and the duo of A’Darius Pegues and Jordan Myers tallied 10 points each.
Campbellsville shot 53.2 percent from the floor overall (41-for-77) and connected on 15 of their 33 three-point tries (45.5%).
Rio Grande, which could crack the Top 25 for the first time since 2008 when the new poll is released on Tuesday, returns to action on Thursday night at the University of Pikeville, which was ranked No. 1 in the latest coaches’ poll.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.