RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande used a 17-3 first half run to open up a 14-point lead and never looked back, knocking off Great Lakes Christian College, 98-85, in the opening round of the Bevo Francis Classic, Friday night, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm evened their overall record at 2-2 with the win.
Great Lakes Christian, a Lansing, Mich.-based member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), slipped to 1-2 with the loss.
Rio Grande survived an early six-point deficit and broke the third – and final – tie of the contest with its game-changing first half run.
Miroslav “Miki” Tadic, a sophomore from Hilversum, The Netherlands, had three of six three-point goals during the spurt, while freshman Andrew Shull (Milton, WV) had two of his three trifectas over the same period, as a 25-25 deadlock became a 42-28 lead for the RedStorm with 5:16 left before halftime.
Rio’s advantage eventually reached 16 points on two different occasions before settling at 14, 56-42, by the intermission.
A steal and subsequent layup by freshman Reedetris Richardson (Atlanta, GA) gave the RedStorm a 19-point cushion, 61-42, just 48 seconds into the second stanza, but Great Lakes Christian chipped away behind its high-scoring duo of Isiah Reed and Trent Temple and sliced the deficit down to nine – the last of which was 67-58 after a jumper in the lane by Temple with 13:59 remaining.
The Crusaders got no closer the rest of the way, though, and Rio Grande eventually built its lead back to 19 points, 92-73, after a layup by Tadic with 3:37 left to play before settling on a 13-point margin of victory.
Shull and sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) led the RedStorm with 21 points each, while Tadic tossed in 20 points of his own.
Blevins, whose scoring total represented a new career-high, also tied Richardson for game-high honors with nine rebounds. He also had a team-best three steals and a blocked shot.
Shull led Rio Grande with five assists.
Senior Bryanth Farr (Beloit, WI), a transfer from now-defunct Holy Family College, had his best game in a Rio uniform with 18 points. He finished 7-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
As a team, the RedStorm shot just over 60 percent in the opening half (20-for-33) and finished the game at 59.3 percent (35-for-59).
Reed and Temple netted 28 points each in a losing cause for Great Lakes Christian. The duo combined to go 21-for-41 from the floor overall, 6-for-11 from three-point range and 8-for-8 at the foul line.
Whitney Harris added 12 points for the Crusaders, while Kevin Wright, Jr. had a team-high five rebounds and a game-best four steals.
Reed also had five rebounds and Jordan Martinus handed out four assists in a losing cause for GLCC.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.