San Antonio – Nick Morey led four St. Mary’s University Rattlers scoring in double figures with 16 points, as the Rattlers defeated the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, 80-67, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Thursday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

It was St. Mary’s interior play that was the difference in the game. Three Rattler post players reached double figures in scoring with Latez Williams (Sr., Hamilton) posting a double-double. St. Mary’s outrebounded the Falcons 47-28 and outscored UTPB 64 to 36. The Rattlers shot 58.6 percent from the field (34-58), while UTPB shot just 38.8 percent (26-67).

The Rattlers broke open a close game late. St. Mary’s never trailed in the second half, but the Falcons cut the Rattler lead to just one at 48-47 with 15:33 left to play. They pulled to within two points four times. The Rattlers ended the game with a 14-4 run to pull away.

The teams battled back-and-forth in the first half, with the Falcons taking an early six-point lead at 16-10 with 14:32 left in the period. The Rattlers rebounded with a 10-2 run to take the lead at 20-18 on a Marcus Hill (Jr., Longview) lay-up with 11:31 left. The teams traded baskets until the Rattles took the lead for good midway through the half. Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) keyed a 9-2 run that gave the Rattlers their largest lead at 33-26. They increased that edge to eight points at 39-31 with 3:27 left, but the Falcons ended the half by scoring the final four points to make it just a three-point game at 41-38 at the halftime break.

Williams had 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Morey (Belpre, Ohio) nearly matched his double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Owens had 15 points and Hill added 10 points.

For the Falcons Robert Harris led the way with a game-high 17 points, while Quintan Lipkins had 16 points and Justin Bailey added 12.

With the win the Rattlers improved to 10-8 overall this season, while UTPB fell to 6-11. The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday when they face Oklahoma Panhandle State University in the second game of a men’s/women’s Heartland Conference doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.

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