WISE, Va. — Sophomore guard Javon Moore poured in a game-high 31 points and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise held on down the stretch to post a 59-52 win over the University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action at the David J. Prior Convocation Center.
The win was the first in conference play for the Highland Cavaliers, who improved to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in the MSC.
Rio Grande, which dropped its third staight game and its fourth in the last five outings, slipped to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Moore, who connected on 10 of his 17 overall field goal attempts and six of his 11 three-point tries, also had a team-high nine rebounds and shared team honors with three assists.
Moore was the only double-digit scorer for UVA-Wise, which managed to hang on for the win despite shooting just 27.6 percent (8-for-29) in the second half.
The Cavaliers used a 10-0 first half run to open up a 14-point lead, 25-11, with 5:17 left before the intermission, but Rio Grande reeled off a 15-6 run of its own to close out the half and pull within 31-26 at the break.
Wise built the lead back to as much as 12 points, 48-36, following a Tyler Maggard three-pointer with 9:06 remaining in the game and led by 10 at 55-45 after a three-pointer by Moore with 3:19 left, but the RedStorm refused to go away quietly and sliced the deficit to 56-52 following a trifecta by sophomore guard Evan Legg with 1:08 showing on the clock.
Unfortunately, those proved to be the final points of the night for Rio.
Maggard nailed a pair of free throws with 37 seconds left and Darius Smith hit one of two shots from the charity stripe in between empty RedStorm possessions to set the final score.
Freshman guard D.D. Joiner led Rio Grande in scoring with 18 points but, for the second straight game, was the only double-digit scorer for head coach Ken French’s club.
Joiner also had a game-high 11 rebounds for the RedStorm, who enjoyed a whopping 50-35 edge in rebounding.
Junior guard Jermaine Warmack had a game-high seven assists, while junior forward Bruce Komakech added five blocks in a losing cause for Rio.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday afternoon at ninth-ranked University of Pikeville. Tipoff is set for approximately 4 p.m. - or 20 minutes following the conclusion of the 2 p.m. opener of the twinbill between the women’s squads from both schools - at the East Kentucky Expo Center.