Las Vegas might need a new nickname thanks to two St. Mary’s Rattlers: Sophomore City.
Showing flashes of what the men’s basketball team’s inside-outside game can become, sophomores Kevin Kotzur and Josh Orta led the Rattlers to a 93-87 victory over Southwest Baptist University in the High Desert Classic.
Kotzur (La Vernia, Texas) paced St. Mary’s with 23 points and six boards, while Josh Orta (San Antonio) added 22 points, including going 12 for 12 at the foul stripe to give the Rattlers their first win of the season.
The Rattlers (1-1) will return home Monday night, when it will face Sul Ross State University at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena. The game also marks “Operation: Drive to the Basket” an initiative spearheaded by the men’s basketball team and St. Mary’s Marian Guard to get donated goods sent to St. Mary’;s ROTC alumni deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Donations will be accepted prior to and throughout Monday’s game, and anyone who brings a gift will gain free entrance to the game.
Against Southwest Baptist, Kotzur connected on 10 of 13 shots, while Orta went 2 for 3 from downtown as the Rattlers turned it on offensively. Ray Marshall (Jr., El Paso, Texas) had 11 points, while Jeff Campbell (Jr., Allen, Texas) added 10 to go along with five assists.
St. Mary’s led most of the way, including 41-38 at the half. The crushed Southwest Baptist on the boards, holding a commanding 42-26 rebounding advantage, while also hitting 30 of 38 free throws.