ODESSA, Texas – Sometimes, it’s impossible not to take St. Mary’s center Kevin Kotzur for granted.
Mind-bogglingly consistent in his production, Kotzur’s stat line can all but be penciled in prior to tipoff.
He brought his usual 20-point, 10-rebound performance to the plate Saturday, logging 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting and bringing in nine boards to help the red-hot Rattlers stomp Texas-Permian Basin 83-68 in Heartland Conference play.
But while Kotzur’s (Jr., La Vernia, Texas) line is a given – he averages 19.7 points and 9.9 rebounds – it’s the surge his running mates are putting together that has turned the Rattlers (8-4, 2-0 in Heartland Conference) into one of the teams to beat in the conference.
Five Rattlers scored in double figures Saturday, with guard Daryell Taylor (Jr., Houston) scoring 13 and point guard Lamb Autrey (Sr., Cibolo, Texas) and forward Ray Marshall (Sr., El Paso, Texas) adding 12 apiece. Guard Moses Sundufu (Jr., Hopkins, Minn.) chipped in 10 on a 2-for-3 performance from beyond the arc.
But it wasn’t as easy as the final score would indicate.
Trailing 34-33 at the half, the Rattlers and Falcons engaged in a seesaw affair that saw them exchanging the lead through the first five minutes of the second frame. But St. Mary’s never looked back after taking a 47-46 lead with just under 14 minutes remaining, pushing its lead all the way to 22 points, 81-59, in the final minutes.
Efficient across the board offensively, St. Mary’s shot 55.9 percent from the field (33 of 59), 42.9 percent from 3-point range (6 of 14) and 73.3 percent from the foul stripe (11 of 15). The Falcons, meanwhile, shot just 45.3 percent from the floor, including 37 percent (10 of 27) in the second half.
One of the better rebounding point guards around, Autrey added nine boards and five assists to his 12 points to help the Rattlers get their fourth straight win.
St. Mary’s will be back in action on Monday, when it hosts Dallas Baptist at 7:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.