By Chad Peters
San Antonio — St. Mary’s men’s basketball dominated the second half of Saturday night’s conference matchup against Oklahoma Panhandle State to secure a 64-41 victory at Bill Greehey Arena.
With the victory, the Rattlers move past the Aggies and into a two-way tie in the Heartland Conference with Western New Mexico — whom the Rattlers (12-11, 5-4) defeated on Thursday in a conference matchup, and again in non-conference play on Friday.
Also, the Rattlers moved past the .500 mark for the first time this season by defeating Panhandle State.
The Rattlers, able to avenge their 71-64 loss to OPSU from earlier this season, dominated the glass with a 41-to-24 rebounding edge. St. Mary’s defense also limited the Aggies to 13-of-47 (27.7 percent) shooting from the floor. St. Mary’s also enjoyed one of its finest performances from the free-throw line, going 11-of-14 — led by sophomore post Joe Allen’s 6-of-7 mark — from the stripe.
Allen led the Rattlers with 17 points, followed by the 10 points scored apiece by junior guard Jarvis Lee and freshman forward Robert Owens. Fellow freshman Rod Bellard, starting his third straight game at the point, led the team with six assists and 38 minutes played.
Senior post Cody Spring played only 12 minutes and scored but two points, but he set the game’s tempo while in the game. Spring made several hard fouls — finishing with four, in all — to prevent easy baskets, and also grabbed five rebounds and blocked four shots. Fellow senior Steve Goff led the Rattlers with eight rebounds.
Because of Western New Mexico’s defeat of Incarnate Word on Saturday, the Rattlers did not gain sole possession of third place in the conference, insteaed remaining in a two-way tie with Western New Mexico.
The Rattlers play again on Tuesday, traveling to take on Lincoln University at 7:30 p.m.