San Antonio – Newman University built up a big second half lead and held off a late St. Mary’s University rally for a 68-60 win over the Rattlers in Heartland Conference men’s basketball action Monday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Jets took control early in the second period. After the Rattlers cut the Jet lead to just one point on a long jumper by Gordon Ward (Jr., Galveston, Texas), Newman went on a 9-2 run to take an eight-point lead at 42-34 with 15:59 to play. The Rattlers rallied to cut the deficit to just five on a three-point play by Kevin Kotzur (Fr., La Vernia, Texas), but the Jets responded with a 12-3 run that gave them a 14-point edge with 8:10 left to play. The Rattlers pulled to within four points on a Curtis Mitchell (Sr., Milwaukee) three-pointer with 1:02 left, but the Jets made 7-of-7 free throws in the last minute to ice the win.

Kotzur led the way for St. Mary’s with 11 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Mitchell led the Rattlers in scoring with 16 points and added seven assists. Ward had 11 points, while Darren Lee (Sr., Stockton, Calif.) had 10 points. The Rattlers hit on 46.4 percent (23-52) of their shots from the field, including 63.6 percent (7-11) from three-point range in the game. But Newman outrebounded the Rattlers 34-32, the first time this season that the Rattlers have been outrebounded. St. Mary’s also committed 19 turnovers, which the Jets turned into 18 points.

With the loss St. Mary’s saw its three-game win streak end. The Rattlers are now 6-7 overall and 2-2 in Heartland Conference play this season. Newman improved to 9-4, 3-1. The Rattlers will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Laredo, Texas, to face Texas A&M International University in a Heartland Conference game starting at 8 p.m.

Newman 68, St. Mary’s (Texas) 60

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