San Antonio – Feeling the energy was getting low Thursday night, St. Mary’s sophomore post Kevin Kotzur did what he likes to do when the team needs a pick-me-up.
He went to work down low, banging bodies on his way to the basket for an and-one opportunity, and proceeded to make some noise.
Waving his arms wildly while letting out a roar, Kotzur let everyone in the building – including the visiting Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies – know the Rattlers meant business.
Breaking open what had been a tight game through halftime, the Rattlers rolled 73-51 at Bill Greehey Arena to remain perfect in Heartland Conference play.
“The energy level, we had to pick it up,” said Kotzur, a La Vernia native who scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. “That’s what started the run – the energy.”
Point guard Josh Orta (So., San Antonio) led the Rattlers with 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while Ray Marshall (Jr., El Paso, Texas) added nine and Jeremy Fonteneaux (Jr., DeSoto, Texas) chipped in eight to help the Rattlers improve to 4-0 in conference play.
They are 10-5 overall this season.
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While the Rattlers ended up running away with it, the Aggies gave them a fight early.
Capitalizing on the Rattlers’ mistakes, OPSU trailed 30-24 at the half. With 15 minutes remaining, St. Mary’s had already committed 11 turnovers – miscues that led to 10 quick points on the other end.
That’s when the Rattlers got going.
Up 32-31 two minutes into the half, St. Mary’s went on a 14-2 tear to open up a 46-33 advantage with 12:56 left.
The dominant sequence featured most of what St. Mary’s does best: Dominate inside.
Fonteneaux scored on consecutive baskets inside, while Kotzur banged his way inside for an and-one opportunity to push the lead to 42-33. Lamb Autrey (Jr., Cibolo, Texas) then connected on a layup and Orta drove inside for a layup to give St. Mary’s its biggest lead of the game to that point.
Defensively, St. Mary’s held OPSU (3-12, 0-1) to 38.1-percent shooting from the floor and forced 19 turnovers.