San Antonio–St. Mary’s University rallied from a 17-point deficit with a second-half surge, but fell just short in a 63-54 loss against 17th-ranked Pittsburg State University in men’s basketball action Monday night at Bill Greehey Arena on the opening day of the River City Classic.

The Gorillas came out of the gates racing as they took a 23-6 lead with 8:47 left in the first half. The Rattlers rallied and cut the lead to 10 at the half at 32-22. In the second half they used foul trouble for the Pittsburg State post players to mount a determined rally. Three times the Rattlers cut the lead to just five points and were still trailing by just six points with 6:20 left to play. However, over the next 2:20 the Rattlers missed all five of their shots and committed two turnovers, while PSU went on a 7-0 run to take command at 58-45 with 4:00 left. The Rattlers cut the lead to single digits, but could get no closer.

Marcus Hill (Sr., Longview) led the Rattlers in scoring with 12 points and six rebounds. Nick Morey (Jr., Belpre, Ohio) was the only other Rattler scoring in double figures with 10 points and six rebounds. Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) had nine points and six rebounds.

Cory Abercrombie led three Gorillas scoring in double figures with 16 points and eight rebounds.

With the loss the Rattlers fell to 5-4 this season and saw their two-game win streak come to an end. Pittsburg State improved to 7-0. St. Mary’s will face Washburn University at 7:30 p.m. in the final game of the River City Classic on Tuesday at Bill Greehey Arena.

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