San Antonio – Chris Smith’s three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in the game lifted the University of the Incarnate Word to a 70-68 win over St. Mary’s University in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Friday night at the McDermott Center.
As with the first meeting of the season between the teams, Friday’s game was a back-and-forth affair that featured 13 lead changes and five tie scores. UIW won the first meeting 96-94 at St. Mary’s in three overtimes.
After leading by as much as 17 points in the first half, the Rattlers found themselves down by nine points with 10:11 to play on a layup by Paul Connolly. St. Mary’s then responded with a 14-4 run to take a one-point lead with 5:10 left at 59-58. Two free throws by Joe Dinkins (Sr., Conroe) gave St. Mary’s its first lead since the 14:42 mark of the second half. But the Cardinals took the lead right back on a Mikyl Bradshaw layup. An Ontario Williams jumper with 4:28 to play gave UIW a 62-60 lead.
Again back came the Rattlers with Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) hitting his third three-pointer of the game to give St. Mary’s a 63-62 lead. Williams responded with a short jumper to give the Cardinals the lead back at 64-63 with 2:32 to play. Robert Owens (So., Oakwood) hit a jumper from the left side to give the Rattlers the lead at 65-64 with 2:09 left. Again Jason Gant hit a short jumper in the lane to make the score 66-65 UIW with 1:45 left. Back came the Rattlers again with Lee hitting a three-pointer to give St. Mary’s the lead at 68-66 with 1:19 left. Williams hit one-of-two free throws with 58 seconds left. That set up Smith’s heroics.
Marcus Hill (So., Longview) led the Rattlers with 14 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field. He also pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. Lee and Allen Coleman (Jr., Corpus Christi) also reached double figures with 11 points each.
Gant led all scorers with 17 points and had a team-high 10 rebounds. Williams and Connolly had 14 points each.
As a team the Rattlers shot 52.2 percent (24-46) from the field, including 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from three-point range. St. Mary’s struggled at the free throw line, hitting on just 51.7 percent (15-of-29). The Rattlers outrebounded the Cardinals 34-32.
With the loss the Rattlers fell to 11-9 overall and 4-3 in Heartland Conference play. Incarnate Word improved to 12-9 and 6-2. St. Mary’s will return to Bill Greehey Arena for four of the next five games, starting with a matchup against Montana State University-Billings on Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m.