ODESSA, Texas – St. Mary’s trimmed a 15-point deficit down to two in the game’s final minutes behind D.J. Castro’s career-high 22 points off the bench Thursday night.
But after staging the furious rally, the Rattlers simply ran out of gas on the road against Texas-Permian Basin.
The Falcons held on, 69-65, in Heartland Conference competition after leading 62-47 with 5:32 left.
With the Rattlers trailing by 15 late, Castro (So., El Paso, Texas) capped off a 13-0 run with a 3-pointer – his second 3 and his eighth point during the stretch – with 1:56 left.
But UTPB immediately countered with a 3 of its own, doing just enough to keep the Rattlers at arm’s length.
Rattlers star big man Kevin Kotzur (So., La Vernia, Texas) was held to six points, snapping his 41-game streak of scoring in double figures. The stretch dated all the way back to the early part of his redshirt freshman season. Kotzur hadn’t been held below double digits since a 49-35 victory over UTPB on Dec. 19, 2009. His remarkable run stretched over the final 21 games of last year and through the first 20 of this season.
St. Mary’s is now 12-8 overall and 5-2 in conference play, dropping into a tie for first place with Texas A&M International. The Rattlers will play at St. Edward’s on Saturday.
Notebook: Redshirt freshman point guard Keith Hartle, a graduate of Alamo Heights High School, made his second start of the season. He also recorded his first made field goal of his career in Thursday’s victory.