ODESSA – Robert Harris scored 36 points and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin shot 71.4 percent in the second half as the Falcons rallied to defeat St. Mary’s University, 86-77, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night at the Falcon Dome.
The Rattlers led for most of the game, but lost the lead for good midway through the second half. Dominique Richardson (Sr., San Antonio) hit a short jumper with 12:05 left to play, giving the Rattlers a two-point lead at 55-53. After the teams traded baskets over the next two possessions, the Falcons went on a 17-7 run to take a commanding 76-65 lead with 3:24 left to play. The Rattlers cut the lead to just four points with 1:16 left, but the Falcons hit on 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute to seal the win.
Rod Bellard (Jr., Beaumont) scored a team-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range. Latez Williams (Sr., Hamilton, Ohio) hit on 6-of-10 shots from the field for 15 points and pulled down six rebounds. Corey Harbert (Jr., San Antonio) came off the bench to make four three-pointers and scored 12 points. As a team the Rattlers hit on 47.5 percent of their shots from the field (29-61).
Harris led all scorers with 36 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. Charles Harper had 22 points, the only other Falcon scoring in double figures in the game. The Falcons hit on 15-of-21 shots from the field in the second half and shot 52.9 percent (27-51) in the game. UTPB committed just eight turnovers, while the Rattlers had 19.
With the loss the Rattlers have now dropped three of their last four games and are now 12-11 overall, 5-3 in Heartland Conference play. UTPB improved to 8-14 overall. The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday, February 23, in a key Heartland Conference matchup against the University of the Incarnate Word at Bill Greehey Arena in the second game of a men’s/women’s doubleheader. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.