WICHITA, Kan. – Curtis Mitchell’s three-pointer with 15 seconds left was the difference in the game as St. Mary’s University held off Newman University for a 69-66 win in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday at Fugate Gymnasium. The Rattler women also defeated the Jets, 57-46.
Nick Morey (Sr., Belpre, Ohio) led the Rattlers with 24 points in the game. He hit on 8-of-13 shots from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line to pick up his fifth 20-plus point game of the season. He also pulled down six rebounds in the game. The only other Rattler to score in double figures was Mitchell (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis.), who scored 13 points, including hitting on 4-of-5 from three-point range. The Rattlers hit on 26-of-50 shots (52.0%) in the game from the field, 5-of-10 (50.0%) three-point shots and 12-of-17 free throws (70.6%).
The Rattlers led for most of the game, until a Camilo Londono three-pointer with 13:25 left to play gave the Jets the lead at 42-41. However, Morey hit a lay-up to give the Rattlers back the lead and Jeff Campbell (Fr., Allen) followed with a three-pointer on the Rattlers next possession to key a 7-1 run that made the score 48-43 with 11:49 left. That was far from it in the game, as the lead changed hands four more times and the score was tied six times over the final ten minutes. Morey’s three-point play with 2:30 left capped a 5-0 run that tied the score at 61-61. Morey scored seven straight points for the Rattlers, but the Jets responded each time and Jaray Matthews three-pointer with 46 seconds left tied the game again at 66. That set up the final possession for the Rattlers with Mitchell nailing the three-pointer with the shot clock running down.
The Rattler women suffered through their worst shooting night of the season, but used a 23-point performance from Natalie Gamez (Sr., San Antonio), and a double-double from Ashton Benford (Sr,. Waxahachie), to pull away from the Jets late for the 57-46 win. The Rattlers started the game hot, taking a 12-3 lead in the first six minutes of the game. But they only scored nine points the rest of the first half and the Jets took a one-point lead into the locker room at 22-21 on an Alexis Wright lay-up.
St. Mary’s started the second half with a 9-0 run, keyed by four points from Benford to take a commanding 32-24 lead with 14:11 left in the game. From there Newman never got closer than four points and the Rattlers pulled away late on free throws for the win.
Gamez hit on 8-of-8 shots from the field to score the game-high 23 points. She also pulled down eight rebounds. Benford scored 14 points and added 11 rebounds. Chastity Noble (Jr., El Paso) was the only other Rattler to score in double figures with 11 points.
For the men, the win evened their overall record at 7-7 and improved their Heartland Conference mark to 2-1. Newman fell to 7-6, 1-1. With the win the Rattler women are now 13-2, 2-0, while Newman fell to 3-12, 0-2. Both teams will return home to face St. Edward’s University in a Heartland Conference women’s/men’s doubleheader on Thursday in Bill Greehey Arena. The women’s game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., with the men to follow at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live over the internet at www.rattlerathletics.com.