San Antonio–St. Mary’s University used a strong defensive effort to take a big early lead and held off a late Newman University charge for a 72-59 win in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
The teams battled back and forth for the first half of play, with Newman taking its first lead at the 7:11 mark on a pair of free throws by Kyle Smith, making the score 18-16. After that the Rattlers clamped down defensively and shut the Jets out for the rest of the first half. Newman missed its last 10 shots of the half and committed four turnovers over the final 7:11. The Rattlers turned that into a 20-0 run that gave them a commanding 36-18 lead at the halftime break.
But Newman, who came into the game averaging nearly 80 points per game offensively, would go away quietly. The Rattlers maintained a sizeable advantage until the 10th minute of the second half. Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) hit a layup with 9:48 left to give the Rattlers a 50-30 lead. Newman then started to slice into the Rattlers lead. After missing their first 13 three-point attempts Newman made four three-pointers over the final 10 minutes to key their comeback. Kyle Smith pulled the Jets to within eight points when he hit three free throws with 1:22 left. However the Rattlers responded by making eight of 10 free throws over the final 1:22 to ice the game.
Lorenzo Anthony (Jr., San Antonio) led the Rattlers with 13 points and eight rebounds. Owens was the only other Rattler to score in double figures with 10 points. Latez Williams (Sr., Hamilton, Ohio) had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. Nick Morey (Jr., Belpre, Ohio) came off the bench to score nine points, pull down 11 rebounds and block two shots.
As a team the Rattlers hit on 43.4 percent (23-53) of their shots from the field. They blocked 10 Newman shots, the second highest single-game total in the NCAA Division II era.
The only player for Newman to score in double figures was Camilo Londono, who totaled 17 points and eight rebounds. As a team the Jets hit on just 27.4 percent (17-62) of their shots from the field.
With the win the Rattlers have now won three straight games and are 8-6 overall, 2-0 in Heartland Conference play. Newman dropped its third straight game and is now 8-4 overall. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Austin to face St. Edward’s University in a pivotal Heartland Conference matchup starting at 8 p.m.