San Antonio – Four players scored in double figures for St. Mary’s University as the Rattlers upset 9th-ranked Tarleton State University, 73-69, in non-conference men’s basketball action Friday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
The Rattlers brought an eight-point lead into the second half, but that disappeared quickly as the Texans went on a 10-2 run to start the second period. From there it was a dogfight with neither team leading by more than five points over the final 17 minutes.
The Rattlers expanded their lead back to five points when Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) hit back-to-back shots – the second a three-pointer – to make the score 52-47 with 12:14 to play. The Texans came back to tie the score at 56-56 when Effran Bryant hit a pair of free throws with 8:57 to play. A three-point play by Joe Dinkins (Sr., Conroe) gave the Rattlers a five-point edge again at 63-58 with 6:18 to go. All-American John Davis twice cut the Rattler lead to just one, but was held scoreless over the final three minutes. Clutch jump shots by Jawan Bailey (Jr., San Antonio) and Robert Owens (So., Longview) helped clinch the win and the Rattlers picked up turnovers on the final two TSU possessions, the win was sealed.
Hill led the Rattlers with 15 points and seven rebounds. He hit on 4-of-5 shots from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point range. Owens and Lee each added 10 points, while Bailey came off the bench to score 13 points. Owens added a team-high eight rebounds.
For the Texans Davis hit on 9 of 11 shots from the field for a game-high 23 points and added 13 rebounds. Terrence Gamble had 15 points, while Tim Williams (11 points) and Jeremy Gilbert (10 points) also reached double figures in scoring.
St. Mary’s hit on 44.8 percent (26-58) of its shots from the field, compared with 52.0 percent (26-50) for Tarleton State. However the Rattlers outrebounded the Texas 35-30, including 13-5 on the offensive boards and committed just 10 turnovers in the game.
After a slow start to the game the Rattlers took control in the first half. Tarleton State went on a 12-4 run to start the game. But the Rattlers slowly crept back into the contest after that. Rod Bellard (So., Beaumont) hit a three-pointer with 13:29 left in the half to cut the lead to five at 12-7. Bailey followed with a three-point play to pull the Rattlers with two at 12-10. After the Texans increased the lead back to five St. Mary’s took the lead and the teams battled back-and-forth with five-lead changes. But the Rattlers finished the half with a 11-4 run to head into the locker room with an eight-point edge.
The Rattlers improved to 5-6 overall this season and have now beaten Tarleton State in San Antonio each of the last three seasons. TSU fell to 8-2 with the loss. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday, January 4 when they host Oklahoma Panhandle State University at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of a men’s/women’s Heartland Conference doubleheader at Bill Greehey Arena.