NEW ALBANY, Ind. — University of Rio Grande men’s basketball coach Ken French watched his short-handed RedStorm give maximum effort in a win at Brescia University on Thursday night.
French’s squad came up with the same kind of showing against a much better foe on Saturday afternoon, but the inability to hang on to the basketball prevented his club from recording a monumental upset.
Indiana University Southeast overcame a seven-point halftime deficit and survived would-be game-winning shots at the end of both regulation and the first overtime session before pulling away in the second extra period for an 88-78 win in River States Conference action at the IUS Activities Building.
The Grenadiers, who received votes in the most recent NAIA Division II coaches’ poll, improved to 12-5 overall and 5-1 in league play with the victory.
Rio Grande slipped to 9-11 overall and 2-4 in the RSC with the loss.
The RedStorm did themselves in with a season-high 30 turnovers – more than double their per-game season average – which produced a 28-4 advantage in points off of turnovers for IUS.
The 30 turnovers also represented the most in a game by a Rio team since committing 31 miscues in an 81-46 loss at now-defunct St. Catharine College on Feb. 18, 2010.
Nearly half of the turnovers (13) came in the opening half but, still, the RedStorm managed a 37-30 halftime lead – thanks in large part to a 62.5 percent shooting performance over the first 20 minutes.
The Grenadiers roared to life in the first 8-1/2 minutes of the second half, outscoring Rio, 24-8, en route to a 54-45 lead after Jared Osborne hit one of two free throw attempts with 11:27 left in regulation.
The RedStorm refused to go away quietly, though, and eventually knotted the score at 65-all after senior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) nailed a pair of free throws with 2.8 seconds remaining.
Rio came up with a steal on the ensuing IUS inbounds play, but a half-court heave by Tiggs as time expired failed to connect and the game went to overtime.
The RedStorm twice grabbed four-point leads in the extra session thanks to consecutive jumpers by freshman Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) on Rio’s first three possessions, but the Grenadiers tied the game at 71-71 thanks to a conventional three-point play by Jaivaughn Jackson with 2:37 left to play.
Both teams had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds, but neither could cash in on the opportunity.
Jackson misfired on a jumper with 13 seconds left and Tiggs came away with the rebound, but Rio’s would-be game-winner from three-point range by junior Trey Kelley (Minford, OH) was off the mark as time expired to force a second overtime.
Jackson put IUS back in front with a layup on his team’s first possession of the second OT, but Tiggs tied things up – for the 12th time on the day – thanks to a pair of free throws with 4:07 left.
IUS responded with a 9-1 run over the next three minutes – a stretch which included four Rio turnovers over five possessions – for an eight-point edge and led by no less than six points the rest of the way.
The Grenadiers’ largest lead of the game came with the final margin of victory.
Jackson scored a career-high 22 points in 24 minutes of action off the bench to lead IUS, while Anthony Wales, Jr. had 21 points and five steals.
David Burton added 15 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in the winning effort, while Jacobi Hendricks tossed in 11 points.
IUS finished with 20 steals among the 30 Rio turnovers, while committing just seven turnovers of their own.
Tiggs tallied a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a team-high three assists for Rio, while Blevins had 15 points and a game-high three blocks.
Senior Greg Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) added 13 points of his own in a losing cause, while Kelley finished with 11 points.
Rio Grande, which played its first full game without sophomore guard Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY), who was injured in Thursday’s win at Brescia, shot 50.9 percent for the game (29-for-57) and out rebounded the Grenadiers, 49-39.
The RedStorm returns to action on Thursday night when they travel to Beckley, W.Va. to face West Virginia University-Tech.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.