RIO GRANDE, Ohio — As a general rule, the University of Rio Grande men’s basketball team doesn’t find itself in blowout games – particularly inside the River States Conference.
In fact, 12 of the RedStorm’s first 22 games were decided by seven points or less.
That’s why Saturday afternoon’s rout of visiting Midway University was akin to a sighting of Halley’s Comet.
Rio Grande bolted to a 25-point halftime lead and stretched its advantage to as many as 38 points in the second half before settling on a 79-54 triumph over the Eagles at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm improved to 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the RSC as a result of the win.
Midway dropped to 11-10 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
The Eagles trailed just 13-11 after a bucket by Kwon Evans with 13:09 left in the first half, but Rio responded with 12 consecutive points and the rout was on.
The 12-0 spurt by the RedStorm was the start of a 34-11 run to close out the half, producing a 47-22 cushion at the intermission.
Midway shot just 28.6 percent (8-for-28) in the opening half, while Rio Grande hit 19 of its 32 shots before the break (59.4%).
The RedStorm continued to play add-on over the first 10-plus minutes of the second half, taking their largest lead of the night at 72-34 on an emphatic one-handed dunk by junior Dwaine Simmons (Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos) with 9:23 left to play.
The Eagles set the final score by closing the game on a 20-7 run of their own, getting no closer than the game’s final margin.
Freshman Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) led Rio Grande offensively with 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while senior Greg Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Blevins also had two blocked shots.
Sophomore Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY) and senior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the RedStorm, which had all 11 of its players in uniform see action and 10 of those 11 score at least two points.
Tiggs also handed out a game-best eight assists.
Rio finished 31-for-59 for the game (52.5%) and enjoyed a 42-31 edge in rebounding.
Evans had 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds to lead Midway, while Cory Gardner added a career-high 10 points in 14-1/2 minutes of action off the bench.
The Eagles finished at 36.4 percent from the field overall (20-for-55) and, in addition to the large rebounding discrepancy, was just 11-for-23 at the free throw line (47.8%).
Rio Grande will return to action next Thursday when it closes out a three-game homestead against nationally-ranked Indiana University Kokomo.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.