San Antonio – It was another buzzer game for the Rattlers, but in all the wrong ways.
In the battle for Heartland Conference, St. Mary’s (12-7, 5-3 in conference) and the University of Texas- Permian Basin (9-12, 3-5 in conference) met up Thursday with defense in mind.
Both teams challenged each other’s offenses, causing a low-scoring game with only one player hitting double-digits for either team, a Falcon that tipped the lead over to University of Texas-Permian Basin in the final seconds to give them the win, 41-38.
Daryell Taylor (Jr., Houston) lit up for the Rattlers in his usual fashion, hitting two 3’s to lead the team with nine points, followed by Lamb Autrey (Sr., Cibolo, Texas) with eight and Moses Sundufu (Jr., Hopkins, Minn.) with seven.
The match started in favor of the Rattlers, mirroring their talent as a team with keen looks at the bucket to gain a 12-point lead.
However, the Falcons answered back to close the gap with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer that brought them in the lead, 26-24, that stung the Rattlers throughout the second half.
The Rattlers were contained to 12 points to the Falcons’ 17 for the half, as both teams shared the lead several times before the Falcons added salt to the wound.
Thirty seconds remained and the Rattlers needed only one bucket for the score for the would-be victory as they were staring down a one-point deficit, 39-38. But a strong dunk from Falcon Erik Martin, the only player to reach double-digits, silenced the Rattlers, 41-38.
“It wasn’t a 100 percent tonight,” says Taylor, “and it has to be a hundred percent every night for us to be successful.”
The Rattlers had a relationship with the bucket Thursday that was in stark contrast to their normality, shooting 35.9 percent from the floor compared to their usual 50.1-percent shooting percentage. The Falcons experienced the Rattler starting line-up for much of the game and saw little action from the bench, with four members of the starting squad putting in at least 35 minutes.
Despite the Rattlers’ loss Thursday, they hold a powerful position in conference as the No. 3 seed behind Texas A&M International and Newman University.
“Shots didn’t fall for us today but that’s one game behind us,” says Taylor. “We can’t harp on that too long. Tomorrow’s a new day and we just have to come out ready for the next team.”
St. Mary’s has a quick turnaround to prepare for its next contest, facing rival St. Edward’s this Saturday in the Bill Greehey Arena at 2 p.m. The game kicks off the second round of conference play.