LAS VEGAS – The bright lights, the big stage.
The Rattlers were certainly ready to roll the dice in Las Vegas, going toe to toe against one of the nation’s toughest teams until the bitter end Saturday night.
Luck, though, wasn’t on their side.
Amid a terrific shooting performance, St. Mary’s men’s basketball player Daryell Taylor couldn’t get his would-be-tying shot to fall in the final seconds of overtime, as the Rattlers fell 72-68 to the University of Indianapolis in the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic at The Orleans Arena.
Taylor (Jr., Houston) had a similar look at the end of regulation that also could not fall, as it drew the back iron to break a string of makes on a night he finished with a team-high 17 points.
The Rattlers (4-3) led by as many as 10 early, but Indianapolis found its groove with a frustrating full-court press defense that stifled St. Mary’s to the point of 17 turnovers.
Still, St. Mary’s battled back.
Down three in the final minute, Moses Sundufu (Jr., Hopkins, Minn.) forced a steal and got a breakaway layup to close the gap to 69-68. Indianapolis (7-2) went 1 for 2 on the foul line on the other end, giving the Rattlers a chance in the closing seconds.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Kevin Kotzur (Jr., La Vernia, Texas) finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while D.J. Castro (Jr., El Paso, Texas) scored 12 points off the bench after filling in for Keith Hartle (Soph., San Antonio) who got in foul trouble early. Sundufu and Ray Marshall (Sr., El Paso, Texas) added 10 apiece.
St. Mary’s will return to action at 6 p.m. (CST) Sunday, when it faces Christian Brothers. Check back on RattlerAthletics.com for a link to a live in-game chat.