San Antonio – Eric Nuncio hit the go-ahead jumper in overtime and Pierce Caldwell made all four of his free throws in the final 19 seconds as the University of the Incarnate Word rallied for an 83-80 win over St. Mary’s University in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
St. Mary’s looked to be in control of the game when Corey Harbert (Jr., San Antonio) hit a three-pointer with 9:41 left to play to give the Rattlers a commanding 62-45 lead. But the Rattlers went ice-cold over the next nine minutes and Incarnate Word took advantage, outscoring the Rattlers 20-3 to tie the game at 65 on a lay-up by Isiah Bryant with 1:01 left to play.
The Rattlers weren’t finished however, as Latez Williams (Sr., Hamilton, Ohio) hit a driving layup to give the Rattlers a 67-65 lead with 31 seconds left. On the Rattlers next possession Marcus Hill (Sr., Longview) was fouled and hit both of his free throws to give the Rattlers a four-point edge with just 7.5 seconds left to play. However, Dominique Richardson (Sr., San Antonio) fouled Nuncio as he came back down the court and Nuncio hit both of his free throws to cut the deficit to two at 69-67. Then the Rattlers struggled to inbound the ball and called a timeout. Unfortunately for the Rattlers they were out of timeouts and Caldwell hit both technical free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime.
The Rattlers took the early lead in overtime as Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) scored on the Rattlers first three possessions in the extra period. But Nuncio hit a three-pointer and then made a driving lay-up to make it a four-point Cardinal lead. The Rattlers came back with buckets by Allen Coleman (Sr., Corpus Christi) on the next two possessions, but Caldwell’s free throws sealed the win.
Hill led the Rattlers with 16 points and nine rebounds. Owens added 15 points, while Williams had 14 points and nine rebounds. Harbert had 11 points, including three three-pointers.
For the Cardinals, Nuncio had 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Caldwell made just two field goals, but hit on 14-of-14 shots from the free throw line.
With the loss the Rattlers are now 12-12 overall and 5-4 in Heartland Conference play this season. UIW improved to 16-8, 5-3. The Rattlers will return to action on Monday when they host Texas A&M International University in their final home of the game of the season, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Bill Greehey Arena.