Bluefield rallies late, nips No. 19 Rio
Randy Payton Special to OVP
RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Alex Lubsey and Andrew Wilson spearheaded a 12-3 game-ending run as Bluefield (Va.) College rallied in the final three minutes to post a 78-73 win over the University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Rams, who avenged an earlier loss to the RedStorm, improved to 13-10 overall and 6-9 in the MSC.
Rio Grande, which was ranked 19th in the latest NAIA Division I coaches poll, suffered its third straight loss in falling to 16-10 overall and 9-6 in the league.
The RedStorm also failed to capitalize on an opportunity to move into second place after Georgetown suffered a loss to Lindsey Wilson, sliding to fourth place instead based on St. Catharine’s triple overtime win over Campbellsville.
Rio Grande, which had trailed just twice - for all of 24 seconds - appeared to be zeroing on a victory when junior forward Josh Reagan (Cleveland, OH) canned a pair of free throws with 3:09 remaining to give the RedStorm a 70-66 advantage.
The Rams responded by scoring 12 of the game’s final 15 points, with Lubsey accounting for half of BC’s points during the spurt, including a breakaway two-handed dunk with 1:28 remaining which gave Bluefield the lead for good, 72-70.
Lubsey finished with a team-high 19 points.
Wilson had five of the remaining six points in the spurt, including a three-pointer that followed Lubsey’s go-ahead dunk with 35.9 seconds left and gave BC what proved to be its largest lead of the night, 75-70.
Wilson finished with 16 points.
Rio Grande senior guard Ricky Tisdale (Bolivar, TN) countered Wilson’s trifecta with one of his own with 28.2 seconds left, but Lubsey scored again with 18.2 seconds left to make it a two-possession game and Josh Nesbit hit one of two free throws with 8.4 seconds left to set the final score.
Nesbit also netted 16 points - 13 of which came in the second half - and Kearsten Marion added 10 points for Bluefield. Both also had three steals.
Devin Page added 11 rebounds for the Rams, who shot 51.5 percent in the second half (17-for-33) and 50.8 percent for the game (31-for-61), while committing just nine turnovers.
Reagan had a game-high 24 points in the loss for Rio, while sophomore forward Phillip Hertz (Rungsted Kyst, Denmark) had 19 points and a team-best six rebounds. Senior guard Jermaine Warmack (Orange, NJ) also had a game-high eight assists in the loss.
The RedStorm shot a very respectable 46.3 percent (25-for-54) for the game, but committed 17 turnovers and was outrebounded, 36-27.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday afternoon when No. 2 Pikeville visits in the RedStorm’s regular season home finale. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.
Warmack and Tisdale, Rio’s lone seniors, will be honored in pre-game ceremonies.
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