San Antonio – St. Mary’s University used a hot-shooting first half to take a big lead, and then held off a late rally by Texas A&M International University, for a 75-67 victory in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at Bill Greehey Arena.

The Rattlers started the game with a 15-4 run, to quickly take a double-digit lead in the first five minutes of the contest. Darren Lee (Sr., Stockton, Calif.) keyed the run with a pair of 3-pointers. The lead expanded to as much as 19 points, before the Rattlers settled for a 15-point advantage at the break. St. Mary’s shot 58.3 percent (14-24) in the first half and made 55.6 percent (5-11) of its shots from behind the 3-point line.

In the second half it was the Dustdevils turn to heat up from the field. TAMIU shot 62.5 percent (15-24) from the field in the second half, as the Dustdevils cut into the Rattler lead. But St. Mary’s made 52.0 percent (13-25) of its shots in the second half and held off TAMIU for the win.

Curtis Mitchell (Sr., Milwaukee) led the Rattlers with 17 points and 5 assists. Lee finished with 15 points and 4 assists. Gordon Ward (Jr., Beaumont, Texas) had 14 points, while Kevin Kotzur (Fr., La Vernia, Texas) recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.

With the win St. Mary’s improved to 15-9 overall and 10-4 in Heartland Conference play. TAMIU fell to 9-14, 6-7. The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 20, when they host the University of the Incarnate Word at 4:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena in a game that could decide who is the top seed for the upcoming Heartland Conference Tournament.

St. Mary’s (Texas) 75, Texas A&M-International 67

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