Daryell Taylor scored a game-high 27 on Wednesday. (Photo by Antonio Morano Photography)
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SAN ANTONIO — Moses Sundufu is convinced St. Mary’s teammate Daryell Taylor “came out of the womb” with his elbow frozen in the classic jump-shooter’s pose.
But Taylor has reason to suspect the same of Sundufu.
The sharp-shooting duo lit up Incarnate Word’s McDermott Center on Wednesday, combining to sink nine 3-pointers and score 47 points to fuel a 94-87 victory over the cross-town rival Cardinals.
Taylor (Sr., Houston) shot 4 of 6 from downtown in a career-high 27-point performance, while Sundufu (Sr., Hopkins, Minn.) was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in a 20-point showing before a raucous crowd of 913.
On a night where the schedule showed a road game, the Rattlers (1-0) — and their fans — settled in as if they were at home. St. Mary’s student section, the Rowdy Rattlers, came and took over the gymnasium with their quirky antics, perhaps fueling St. Mary’s hot start as UIW started the game shaky.
St. Mary’s opened up a 27-13 advantage midway through the first half, but things eventually evened out as they tend to do in the StMU-UIW rivalry. The Cardinals stormed back to lead by as many as five as they took a 39-36 advantage into the break, only to see the Rattlers storm back down the stretch.
St. Mary’s broke open a 47-47 game with 16 minutes left by going on a 19-9 run to lead by 10 with 11 minutes remaining. The Rattlers would go on to seal it at the free-throw line down the stretch.
St. Mary’s preseason All-American Kevin Kotzur (Sr., La Vernia, Texas) had 13 points and 10 rebounds, while new starting point guard Christian Bower (Chandler, Ariz.) scored nine and dished eight assists in his first game as a Rattler. Isaiah Matthews (RS-So., Texas City, Texas), getting the start next to Kotzur, scored 10 on a 5-for-10 performance.
Next up for the Rattlers? Their home opener against Concordia at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Bill Greehey Arena.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.