RICHMOND, Ind. — Ask any basketball coach and they’ll tell you that surviving a high number of turnovers is difficult.
Trying to do it against one of the top teams in the nation is asking for disaster.
Indiana University East transformed 19 turnovers by the University of Rio Grande into 25 points and the seventh-ranked Red Wolves posted an 80-56 win over the RedStorm, Wednesday night, in River States Conference men’s basketball action at Lingle Court.
IU East improved to 8-3 overall and 1-0 in league play with its fourth straight win and ninth straight triumph over Rio Grande.
The RedStorm, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, slipped to 4-5 overall and 0-1 in the RSC.
Rio Grande trailed by 14 points (39-25) at halftime before opening the second half on an 8-2 run and slicing the deficit to 41-33 after a bucket by senior Earl Russell (Warrington, England) with 17:27 remaining.
The Red Wolves responded with a 28-9 run of their own to take a 69-42 advantage with 7:12 left in the game.
Rio got no closer than 24 points the rest of the way.
The RedStorm’s 19 turnovers – 11 in the first half and eight after the break – led to a 25-6 edge in points off turnovers for IU East.
The miscues also helped the Red Wolves shoot 53.1 percent from the floor (17-for-32) in the second half and an even 50 percent (33-for-66) for the game.
Bishop Smith led four double-digit scorers for IU East with 17 points, while Nate Niehoff had 13 points off the bench, Aaron Thomas finished with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Garrett Silcott netted 10 points.
Rio Grande, which played a third straight contest without the services of sophomore guard Trey Kelley (Minford, OH), hit just one of its 15 three-point attempts, but finished a respectable 24-for-55 from the floor overall for 43.6 percent.
Russell, the reigning RSC Player of the Week, finished with 14 points and nine rebounds to lead the RedStorm in a losing cause.
Junior Cameron Schreiter (Mason, OH), who fell ill prior to the game and wasn’t expected to play at all, added 13 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals for Rio, while the freshman duo of Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY) and Joshua Anthony (Newnan, GA) netted 10 points each.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday night when Ohio Christian University visits the Newt Oliver Arena for another RSC contest.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.