San Antonio – St. Mary’s University shot 48.9 percent from the field, while holding the University of the Incarnate Word to just 31.5 percent as the Rattlers defeated the Cardinals, 74-70, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at the McDermott Center.
St. Mary’s started the game with a 10-2 run, capped by a three-pointer by Darren Lee (Jr., Stockton, Calif.). After the Cardinals cut the lead to just four points on a pair of free throws by Tracy Robinson with 10:43 left in the first half. Jeff Steinbaugh (Jr., Plano) then hit a three-pointer and Curtis Mitchell (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis.) made a lay-up to key an eight-point run by the Rattlers, giving St. Mary’s a 19-7 led with 7:14 left to play. UIW rallied late and cut the St. Mary’s lead to just five points at the break at 31-26.
The Rattlers started the second half with a 15-5 run to take a 46-31 lead with 13:36 left in the game. The Cardinals cut the Rattler lead to just five points with 3:16 left to play, but the Rattlers used strong free throw shooting to increase the lead back to 12 points with 1:35 left. UIW traded baskets for Rattler free throws over the final minute of the game, cutting the lead to as little as three points before the Rattlers held on for the win.
Nick Morey (Sr., Belpre, Ohio) led the way for the Rattlers with 19 points and eight rebounds. Mitchell scored 15 points, Lee added 11 points and Marlon Smith (Fr., San Antonio) had 10 points for St. Mary’s. The Rattlers hit on 22-of-45 shots from the field and 28-of-43 shots from the free throw line. They also outrebounded the Cardinals 40-32. They held UIW to just 31.5 percent shooting (17-54) in the game.
With the win the Rattlers have now won four in a row and six of their last seven to improve to 14-10 overall and 9-4 in Heartland Conference play. UIW fell to 19-6 and 11-3. St. Mary’s will return to action on Monday in the second game of a women’s/men’s doubleheader at Texas A&M International University at 8 p.m.