San Antonio – Kevin Kotzur dominated the paint, while Curtis Mitchell was red-hot from the outside as St. Mary’s University used hot shooting to rally from a double-digit second half deficit to defeat Dallas Baptist University, 75-69, in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at Bill Greehey Arena.
Dallas Baptist came out of the locker room at the half shooting and took a commanding 43-32 lead on a layup by Eddie Gloviak with 16:08 left to play. But St. Mary’s responded with a 10-1 run to take a 50-48 lead with 9:47 left to play. Mitchell (Sr., Milwaukee) keyed the run with back-to-back 3-pointers. Dallas Baptist retook the lead on a pair of free throws by Gloviak with 8:56 left, but Mitchell scored five straight points as the Rattlers increased their lead to as much as eight points. St. Mary’s was clutch from the free throw line in the final minute, making 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe over the final 48 seconds to preserve the lead.
Mitchell led the Rattlers in scoring with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Kotzur (Fr., La Vernia, Texas) reached double figures in scoring for the 16th time in 18 games this season with 17 points. Kotzur had his fourth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. Also reaching double figures for the Rattlers was Brad Hubenak (Fr., Kennendale, Texas) with 11 points and Gordon Ward (Jr., Galveston, Texas) with 11 points and six rebounds.
As a team, the Rattlers hit on 59.1 percent (26-44) of their shots from the field, including a sizzling 78.9 percent (15-19) in the second half. Led by Kotzur’s 10 rebounds, the Rattlers dominated the boards, outrebounding the Patriots 35-20.
The Rattlers used the strong play of Kotzur to take the early lead in the first half. Kotzur scored 10 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in the first period, helping St. Mary’s to a 23-19 lead with 5:25 left in the period. The tide turned when Kotzur picked up his second foul of the half, sending him to the bench, and helping DBU go on a 12-3 run to end the half. Heath Wiechman keyed the run with four points. The Rattlers outshot the Patriots in the first half, but committed 11 turnovers, while forcing just 6.
With the win, St. Mary’s improved to 10-8 overall and 5-3 in Heartland Conference play. The Rattlers have won four straight games. Dallas Baptist fell to 10-8, 4-4. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday, January 28, when they travel to Wichita, Kan., to face Newman University at 8 p.m.
St. Mary’s (Texas) 75, Dallas Baptist 69