RIO GRANDE, Ohio — On a day when its top scorer was held to a season-low point total, the University of Rio Grande somehow found a way to grind out a slugfest-type of victory.
Shiloah Blevins tossed in a game-high 20 points and Andrew Shull netted 15 points to lead the RedStorm in a hard-fought 66-53 win over Ohio Christian University in men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande, which picked up a third straight victory, upped its record to 8-6.
The Trailblazers fell to 1-6 with the loss.
Sophomore Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands), who entered the game averaging a team-best 18.5 points per game for the RedStorm, managed just four points in 29 minutes of action after scoring no less than 10 points in each of his previous 12 outings.
Blevins and Shull picked up the slack, though.
Blevins, a sophomore from South Webster, Ohio, scored 14 of his points in the second half and finished 8-for-8 at the free throw line. He also blocked a game-high two shots.
Shull, a freshman from Milton, West Virginia, scored eight of Rio’s first 10 points in the game and finished with three of the team’s six three-point goals.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, with all three of the game’s ties and six of its seven lead changes occurring before the intermission.
The final lead change of the contest came just 23 seconds into the second half when freshman Reedetris Richardson (Atlana, GA) connected on one of two free throw attempts to snap a 33-all deadlock at the break.
The free throw began a 14-4 Rio Grande run to begin the half, culminating in a three-point goal by freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH), to give the RedStorm a 47-37 lead with 13:56 remaining in the game.
Ohio Christian twice rallied to slice the deficit to four points — the last of which came at 49-45 on a jumper in the lane by Devon Miller with 10:00 left to play — but got no closer the rest of the way.
The Trailblazers shot just 25.8 percent from the floor after halftime (8-for-31), while finishing the game just 4-for-23 from three-point range (17.4%) and 7-for-13 at the free throw line (53.8%).
Rio Grande shot just under 46 percent in the second half and 43.1 percent for the game (22-for-51), while cashing in on 16 of its 20 free throw attempts (80.0%).
The RedStorm also enjoyed a 38-32 edge in rebounding, led by Richardson’s career-high 11 carems. Wallis added a game-high five assists in the winning effort.
Ben Casey scored 14 points to lead Ohio Christian in a losing cause, while Justin Barksdale finished with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Barksdale managed just two points after halftime, though.
Keason Lowe also netted 12 points in the loss for the Trailblazers, who had a modest two-game winning streak against the RedStorm snapped.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday night when the University of Northwestern Ohio visits for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.