RIO GRANDE, Ohio — For the University of Rio Grande men’s basketball program, wins against the University of Pikeville have been hard to come by in recent seasons.
In fact, prior to Thursday night’s meeting between the two schools, it hadn’t happened in a little more than 15 years – when current Rio Grande head coach Ryan Arrowood was a senior for the then-Redmen.
But streaks, as they say, are made to be broken.
The RedStorm survived a second half comeback scare by the Bears before pulling away down the stretch to post a 74-59 victory in non-conference action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande upped its overall record to 5-4 with the win, snapping a two-game losing slide in the process.
The victory also ended a streak of 12 consecutive losses to UPike dating back to Nov. 12, 2005.
The Bears, who slipped to 3-4 with the loss, were held to the program’s lowest point total since a 68-57 loss to Shawnee State University on Jan. 16, 2020.
Pikeville led twice inside the first 2-1/2 minutes of the contest, but a three-pointer by Rio sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) with 16:00 remaining in the first half put the RedStorm in front, 10-8.
It was a lead that the home team would never relinquish.
Behind Tadic, who scored 14 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, Rio enjoyed a 17-point cushion late in the opening stanza before settling on a 37-24 advantage at the intermission.
A thunderous dunk – and subsequent free throw – by sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) with 14:58 left to play gave the RedStorm their largest lead of the night, 52-32, but it also seemed to serve as a wakeup call for the Bears.
UPike responded with a 20-4 run over the next 6-1/2 minutes and sliced the deficit to just four, 56-52, after Jacob Brown hit one of two free throw tries with 8:29 remaining.
Rio Grande managed to get its second win, though, and limited the Bears to just seven points the rest of the way en route to the 15-point victory.
Freshman Andrew Shull (Milton, WV) scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, including six on a pair of three-pointers during the RedStorm’s game-ending run.
Senior Bryanth Farr (Beloit, WI) also had a pair of three-pointers in the final eight minutes and tallied 11 points of his own. He finished 4-for-4 overall and 3-for-3 from beyond the three-point arc.
Blevins was Rio’s other double-digit scorer, netting 14 points. He tied freshman teammate Redeetris Richardson (Atlanta, GA) for game-high honors with nine rebounds.
Freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) and Tadic had a game-high five assists each and Wallis also had four steals.
The RedStorm hit 15 three-pointers as a team and out rebounded the Bears, 41-34.
Taevon Horton led UPike with 13 points, while Jordan Perry and Jamir Simpson finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Simpson also had a team-high seven rebounds and Horton had three steals.
Darius Love had three assists for the Bears, who went just 1-for-14 from three-point range.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Sunday when it makes a road trip to 20th-ranked St. Francis (IN).
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.