LAREDO – Ignacio García’s jump shot at the buzzer led Texas A&M International University to a 67-65 upset win over St. Mary’s University in overtime Thursday night in a Heartland Conference men’s basketball game at the Kinesiology and Convocation Center.
St. Mary’s took a 36-33 lead into the locker room at the half, but looked to have the game in hand early in the second half. St. Mary’s opened the second half with a 14-3 second half run to build a 50-36 lead at the 15:30 mark. But the Rattlers went cold after that, scoring just 11 points over the final 15:30 of the second, giving TAMIU the opportunity to get back into the game.
The Dustdevils completed the comeback when Derek Barnes tied the score at 61-61 by making the first of two free throws with four seconds left. Corey Harbert (Jr., San Antonio) then missed a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer and the game was forced into overtime.
St. Mary’s went up 65-63 in overtime before Jerante Morgan tied the game 65-65 on layup at the 1:39 mark. St. Mary’s would miss two field goal attempts and two free throws the rest of the way before García connected on the dramatic game-winner.
The loss was the first for the Rattlers in six all-time games against TAMIU. In the game the Rattlers shot 40.0 percent (24-60) from the field, but made just 10-of-32 over the final 25 minutes, including just 1-of-6 in overtime. TAMIU hit on 38.6 percent (22-57) from the field.
Nick Morey (Jr., Belpre, Ohio) led the Rattlers with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Joining him in double figures for the Rattlers was Marcus Hill (Sr., Longview) with 13 points, Latez Williams (Sr., Hamilton, Ohio) with 11 points and Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) with 10 points. Chris Swan led three Dustdevils in double figures with 18 points.
Despite the loss the Rattlers pulled into a tie for first place in the Heartland Conference as the University of the Incarnate Word upset St. Edward’s University in overtime. The Rattlers are now 3-1 in Heartland play, 9-8 overall this season. TAMIU is 6-9 overall. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 31, when they host the University of Texas of the Permian Basin at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of a men’s/women’s doubleheader at Bill Greehey Arena.