San Antonio – Santa brought the Rattlers most everything they asked for this Christmas.
Most notably, that included the return of starting point guard Lamb Autrey and a victory over their heated cross-town rival, Incarnate Word.
Autrey (Sr., Cibolo, Texas), playing in his first game back from a hand injury that sidelined him for most of December, scored a team-high 20 points Thursday, leading St. Mary’s to a thrilling, 81-76 victory in overtime over the Cardinals at UIW’s McDermott Center.
The victory gave the Rattlers (5-4) their first season series sweep of the Cardinals since the 2005-06 season.
On Thursday, Incarnate Word overcame a 38-30 halftime deficit to send the game to an extra session tied at 68-68, but the Rattlers dominated OT from start to finish, leading by as many as nine points and never trailing in the period.
Star center Kevin Kotzur (Jr., La Vernia, Texas) had 18 points and nine rebounds in another groundhog-day performance for St. Mary’s, while Daryell Taylor (Jr., Houston) added 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Moses Sundufu (Jr., Hopkins, Minn.) and Isaiah Matthews (Fr., Crystal City, Texas) also reached double figures, scoring 10 points apiece.
The game was knotted up seven times and saw seven lead changes, but the Rattlers pulled through in large part because of their ability to dominate both inside and outside.
Outrebounding the Cardinals 48-39, the Rattlers also outshot UIW from 3-point range, shooting 5 of 11 from long range compared to UIW’s 3-for-19 mark.
Sundufu hauled in nine rebounds, while Autrey added nine boards.
Autrey led the Rattlers in OT, scoring five points from the foul line to go along with two assists, two rebounds and a steal in the extra session.
St. Mary’s will return to the court on New Year’s Eve, when it hosts Cardinal Stritch at 5 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.