RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Men's basketball held a 25-point lead at the half against rival Rio Grande Tuesday evening. However, the RedStorm (11-19, 6-14 MSC) rallied back for the victory. The Bears (16-13, 11-9 MSC) led 53-28 at the half before the second half breakdown.
Fueling Rio Grande's comeback victory was four players that reached double-figure scoring totals. Dominick Haynes finished with a team-high 22 points. Kaleb Kimber scored 18 points while Jermaine Warmack finished with 15. D.D. Joiner also added 10 points, including the game-winning basket with 12 seconds to play. Ian Nixson finished with a career-high 23 points in the game. Tyler Morgan and Jeremy Bennington each finished with 11 points.
Trailing 5-4 early in the opening half, the Bears went on a 9-0 run to go up by eight with 16:15 left in the first half. All nine of those points came from Nixson. The RedStorm would cut the lead to five with 14:01 remaining in the half before SSU went on a 7-0 run to go up by 12.
Still leading by 12 later in the opening half, the Bears opened the lead up to 20 with 4:27 to go in the opening 20 minutes. Three pointers from Morgan and Bennington to close out the first half would make the lead 25 points, 53-28, as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
As hot as the Bears were in the opening half, they were ice cold in the second half as Rio Grande scored the first 21 points out of the locker room. A Tyler Morgan basket with 13:36 broke a six-plus minute scoring draught but Rio Grande was back in the game down by just five after the basket. Three pointers by Ethan Moffat and Bennington would stretch the lead back to nine before Dante Dunston answered a Rio Grande three with one of his own.
However, the RedStorm then went on an 8-0 run and had the deficit down to one with 7:39 to play in the game. The Bears never surrendered the lead until the 4:42 mark when a Haynes' basket put the hosts up by one.
The teams would trade the lead back and forth in the next two minutes before a Trevor Banks three put SSU up by two with 1:59 to play. That three was answered by Rio Grande's Warmack before an Andrew Devlin basket put the Bears up by one with 36 seconds to play.
Rio Grande would answer right back with 12 seconds left in the game on the basket by Joiner. The potential game-winning basket would end up by blocked by the RedStorm's Haynes in the final seconds before Rio Grande added two more free throws in the 81-78 victory.
Men's basketball has finished in fifth place in the MSC regular season standings and will draw fourth-seeded Campbellsville in the conference quarterfinals on Friday. That game will tip at 4 p.m. The Bears won both contests against Campellsville during the regular season.