Gray Wolves rally past Rio men

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The University of Rio Grande did a good job of dodging the snow during the first half of Sunday morning’s matchup against Lourdes (Ohio) University.

But over the final 20 minutes, the RedStorm saw their hopes of a perfect weekend buried in an avalanche.

Clif Snow scored all of his team-high 19 points in the second half as the Gray Wolves rallied from a nine-point first half deficit to post a 59-53 win over Rio Grande in the 2019 NAIA DII Showcase at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Center and Resort.

Lourdes improved to 7-3 with a fourth consecutive victory.

Rio Grande, which had a modest two-game win streak snapped, slipped to 6-4.

Behind the hot shooting of sophomore Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY), the RedStorm raced to a 13-4 lead just under six minutes into the contest and maintained a 24-19 advantage at halftime in a defensive slugfest.

Snow, Lourdes’ leading scorer at just under 20 points per outing, was a non-factor in the first half after being forced to the bench with a pair of early fouls.

The second half, though, was a different story.

Snow scored 12 of the first 18 points in the second half for the Gray Wolves, who grabbed their first lead of the contest at 43-40 thanks to a three-pointer by Kenny Coleman with 9:09 left in the game.

It was a lead that the Wolves didn’t relinquish.

Lourdes pushed its lead to as many as six points, 53-47, after a pair of free throws by Snow with 2:42 remaining in the contest and the RedStorm got no closer than two points the rest of way.

Short’s seventh three-point goal of the game had Rio as close as 55-53 with 15.3 seconds left, but Coleman canned two more free throws with 13.0 seconds remaining and Snow tacked on two more shots from the charity stripe with 2.3 seconds left to set the final score.

In addition to Snow, the Gray Wolves got 14 points and three assists from Coleman and 11 points from McRay White.

Julian Egbo added a game-high 13 rebounds for Lourdes, which shot 48 percent in the second half (12-for-25) after connecting on just six of its 25 shots in the opening stanza (24.0%).

Short was the lone double-digit scorer for Rio Grande, finishing with a career-high 31 points after going 11-for-15 overall and 7-for-9 from beyond the three-point arc.

Senior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) had seven rebounds and three assists in a losing cause for the RedStorm, while sophomore Markus Geldenhuys (Pretoria, South Africa) also had seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.

Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday night with an exhibition game against NCAA Division I Ohio University.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center in Athens.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.