San Antonio – St. Mary’s University built up a double-digit second half lead, then held off a rally by the University of the Incarnate Word for a 67-60 win in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Monday night at the McDermott Center.
St. Mary’s was hot from the field in the first half, hitting on 55.2 percent (16-29) of their shots. They were equally impressive handling the ball, committing just four turnovers, while forcing six and holding the Cardinals to just 37.0 percent shooting (10-27) from the field. UIW took the early lead at 12-7, but thanks to some strong play from Nick Morey (Jr., Belpre, Ohio) the Rattlers took control. Morey keyed a 7-0 Rattler run with five of his nine first half points to give the Rattlers a 14-12 lead at the 11:34 mark.
After the Cardinals tied the game at 14, Corey Harbert (Jr., San Antonio) hit a three-pointer and Allen Coleman (Sr., Corpus Christi) followed with a layup to give the Rattlers a five-point edge at 19-14 with 9:09 left. The Cardinals cut the lead back to one point at 20-19 with 7:08 left, but the Rattlers finished the first half with a 17-8 run to take a 10-point lead into the locker room at 37-27.
St. Mary’s increased their lead to 11 points and held it in double digits through the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, the Cardinals responded with an 8-0 run, keyed by a pair of Chris Patterson layups to cut the Rattler advantage to just three at 51-48 with 8:22 left to play. St. Mary’s responded with a pair of free throws by Morey, a layup by Coleman and two more free throws by Coleman to stretch the lead back to nine points at 57-48 with 4:42 left.
The Cardinals had one more run left in them though, as Pierce Caldwell hit a three pointer, Patterson added a layup and Caldwell added a pair of free throws to cut the lead to just two again with 3:05 left to play. But that was as close as UIW would get as St. Mary’s pulled away at the end.
Three Rattlers reached double figures in the game: Morey, Robert Owens (Jr., Oakwood) and Rod Bellard (Jr., Beaumont), with each scoring 11 points. As a team the Rattlers hit on 46.3 percent (25-54) of their shots from the field and committed just nine turnovers in the game. They also made 40.0 percent (6-15) shots from three-point range. Defensively they held UIW to just 37.7 percent shooting, while forcing 12 turnovers.
Pierce Caldwell led three Cardinals scoring in double figures with 15 points. Cameron Teague had 11 points, while Chris Patterson had 10.
With the win the Rattlers improved to 9-7 overall and 3-1 in Heartland Conference play. UIW fell to 10-7 and 2-2. The Rattlers will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Laredo to face Texas A&M International University in a Heartland Conference matchup at 7:30 p.m.