AUSTIN – St. Mary’s University staged a big second half rally that fell just short as the Rattlers were defeated by St. Edward’s University, 53-47, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night at the Recreation and Convocation Center.

St. Edward’s, who led the entire game, took a seemingly untouchable 15-point lead at 46-31 with 8:21 left to play. However they nearly staged an epic come-from-behind win, thanks to a 16-3 run over the next seven minutes. Joe Dinkins (Sr., Conroe) started the rally with back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to 11. A Marcus Hill (So., Longview) dunk, followed by a Dominique Richardson (Jr., San Antonio) layup, made it a seven-point game at 46-39. Dinkins continued his strong play with a layup to make it a five-point game at 46-41 with 5:39 to go.

Taylor Mullenax put the Hilltoppers back up by seven with a short jump shot on the Hilltoppers next possession. However, that barely slowed down the Rattlers as Richardson made layups on the next two possessions to cut the deficit to three points at 48-45 with 2:24 to play. Chavon Farmer hit on one-of-two free throws to increase the SEU advantage to four with 2:00 minutes left. Then Richardson, who posted his second highest scoring night of the season, made a layup to cut the lead to just two points at 49-47 with 1:31 left. However the rally ended there as the Rattlers missed their final four shots and the Hilltoppers made four of six free throws in the closing seconds to clinch the win.

Jawan Bailey (Jr., San Antonio) led the Rattlers with 10 points. Dinkins and Hill each added nine points, while Richardson and Robert Owens (So., Oakwood) had eight. As a team the Rattlers shot 34.9 (17-49) percent from the field.

St. Edward’s was led by Cory Griffin with a game-high 14 points. He was the only Hilltopper to score in double figures in the game. SEU hit on 38.8 percent (19-49) of its shots from the field

With the loss the Rattlers fell to 9-8 overall this season and 2-2 in Heartland Conference play. St. Edward’s improved to 13-4 and 4-1. St. Mary’s will hit the road for a very important Heartland Conference game at Montana State University-Billings on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Billings, Mont. The game will be part of a women’s/men’s doubleheader.

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