SAN ANTONIO — Mark Simmons says there is still plenty the Rattlers need to improve upon.
But it sure didn’t look that way Saturday.
Simmons’ hot hand helped the St. Mary’s men’s basketball team put on a clinic against Dallas Christian, winning by 40 points in a 102-62 thrashing at Bill Greehey Arena.
Simmons (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) scored 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range, while Kevin Kotzur (Sr., La Vernia, Texas) scored a game-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Joe Monroe (RS-So., San Antonio) and Justin Alexander (So., San Antonio) also scored in double figures with 18 and 13 points, respectively.
But it was what the Rattlers are still working on that Simmons was most mindful of in the moments after the game.
“Our mentality is to get better for the next game,” he said. “We have to work on certain things, getting the ball to the post and kicking it out.”
St. Mary’s dominated the paint from the start, jumping to an early 8-2 lead with all of its baskets coming from down low. But Dallas Christian slowly clawed back, capitalizing on a combination of Rattler turnovers and hot 3-point shooting by the Crusaders to trail 15-12 seven minutes into the game.
The Rattlers, however, went back to dominating down low to regain control, as back-to-back offensive rebounds created easy buckets for St. Mary’s, giving it a 22-12 lead with 10 minutes to play.
It was all St. Mary’s from there.
The Rattlers opened up a 46-23 edge with just over three minutes to play in the opening half, with all but one of the dressed players getting playing time. In the end, everyone on the Rattlers’ bench received minutes.
Monroe had a thunderous, two-handed slam off a steal to cap off the Rattlers’ ferocious first half of play — this after slamming home an alley-oop dunk from Daryell Taylor earlier in the frame.
St. Mary’s took a 52-33 advantage into the break, with Kotzur leading the way with 16 points and six rebounds in just eight minutes of work. The 23 points he finished with came in just 15 minutes on the court.
The Rattlers will be idle next week, not returning to the court until they travel to Las Vegas to play in the Holiday Hoops Classic from Dec. 18-19.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.