RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande men’s basketball team set season-highs in five different offensive categories and cruised to a 114-78 rout of Ohio University-Lancaster in the 4th Annual Champions of Character Classic, Tuesday afternoon, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm improved to 4-10 with their second straight triumph – the first time this season head coach Ken French’s club has strung together consecutive wins.
OU-Lancaster slipped to 4-9 with its fifth consecutive loss.
Rio Grande led nearly from start to finish – the game was tied briefly at 2-2 in the opening minute – by shooting a season-best 61.8 percent from the floor (62.2 percent in the first half and 61.5 percent in the second stanza) and finished with six players in double figures.
The RedStorm also set new season-high marks for field goals (47), three-point field goals (14), rebounds (50) and assists (32) en route to their 11th win in as many all-time meetings with the Cougars.
Nine of the 14 trifectas came in the opening half as Rio methodically built a 57-29 lead at the intermission. The RedStorm averaged just 4.3 three-pointers per game entering the contest.
OU-Lancaster, which hit eight three-pointers in the second half while shooting 54 percent from the field overall after the break, closed the deficit to 19 points, 67-48, following a three-point goal by Hunter McCartney with 15:28 remaining, but got no closer the rest of the way.
Rio Grande closed the game with a 22-8 scoring spurt and led by as many as 40 points, 114-74, with 30.8 seconds left to play.
Junior Will Hill (Worthington, OH) and redshirt freshman Stanley Christian (Norfolk, VA) led the RedStorm’s offensive onslaught with 16 points each. Hill also finished with a game-high seven assists.
Freshman Marko Minic (Belgrade, Serbia) had a career-high 14 points and seven rebounds, while senior Corey Cruse (Fort Mitchell, KY) also netted 14 points. Junior Kenny Council (Jacksonville, FL) added a career-best 12 points and a team-high three steals off the bench and senior Josh Thompson (Bronx, NY) finished with 10 points in just over 10 minutes of playing time.
Freshman Greg Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) tied Minic for game-high rebounding honors with seven and freshman Kaileb Sheets (Pomeroy, OH) equaled Council’s three steals.
Alton Frizzell had a team-best 15 points and six rebounds in a losing cause for OU-L, while Preston Gothard and McCartney finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Cougars, who finished with 12 three-pointers of their own.
Rio Grande will enjoy a brief holiday break before returning to action on December 30 at Mount Vernon Nazarene.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. EST.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.
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