San Antonio – Rod Bellard scored 12 of his team-high 16 points during a pivotal run late in the game as St. Mary’s University defeated Oklahoma Panhandle State University, 63-53, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Thursday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
Bellard (So., Beaumont) hit his first trey at the 11:53 mark of the second half, which turned a 39-37 deficit into a 40-39 lead. With the Rattlers up by one, Dominique Richardson (Jr., San Antonio) hit a driving layup to increase the Rattler lead to 44-41 with 8:15 to play. After a pair of free throws by Joe Dinkins (Sr., Conroe), Bellard hit his second three-pointer to give the Rattlers an eight-point edge at 49-41 with 6:44 to play.
OPSU came back to cut the Rattler lead to just four on a Luke Ogden tip-in, but Bellard hit his third and fourth treys of the half on back-to-back possessions to put the Rattlers up by 10, then after a Richardson steal, Allen Coleman (Jr., Corpus Christi) hit a driving layup to give St. Mary’s a 12-point edge with 3:52 to play. OPSU cut the lead to seven, but could get no closer.
Bellard was one of three Rattlers to score in double figures. He came off the bench to hit on 4-of-9 shots from three-point range and 5-of-11 overall. The 16 points tied his career high. Marcus Hill (So., Longview) scored 15 points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out three assists, while Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) added 13 points.
Leading the way for the Aggies was William Stephenson, who had 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. LaChawn Anderson was the only other Aggie in double figures in scoring with 13 points.
The Aggies came out of the gate fast to start the game, taking an early four-point lead. LaChawn Anderson hit his first three shots, including a long jumper with 15:26 left in the half, to give OPSU a 10-6 lead. However the Rattlers responded with an 8-0 lead, keyed by a three-point play for Hill and a three-pointer by Lee, to take a 14-10 lead. They would expand the lead to as much as six, but the Aggies rallied and took a two-point lead on a layup by Antonine Cullum with 48 seconds left. Back came the Rattlers again to take the lead at the half when Hill skied for a rebound of a Lee miss and put it back with two seconds in the period to send the Rattlers into the locker room with a 30-29 advantage.
With the win St. Mary’s evened its record at 6-6 overall and is now 1-0 in Heartland Conference play. OPSU fell to 0-2 in HC play. The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday when they host the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in the second game of a men’s/women’s doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.