RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande men’s basketball team will go after its fifth straight win overall and fifth straight Mid-South Conference triumph when St. Catharine College pays a visit to the Newt Oliver Arena on Thursday night.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Rio Grande received votes in the NAIA Division I coaches’ poll this week for the first time since moving up from Division II five seasons ago. The RedStorm garnered 34 points in the balloting for the equivalent of 28th place.
This is the first time that Rio has appeared in any men’s basketball poll since January 19, 2009, when the RedStorm fell out of the NAIA Division II Top 25 and received 15 points in the balloting.
Head coach Ken French’s squad is coming off a 78-77 triumph over arch-rival Shawnee State last Saturday.
The RedStorm led by 12 points on three different occasions in the first half, but was forced to rally in the second half for the victory.
Junior guard Travis Elliott (Ironton, OH) nailed a pair of free throws with 3.1 seconds left to provide the winning points.
Elliott led Rio in the win with 13 points, while sophomore forward Phillip Hertz (Rungsted Kyst, Denmark) netted 12 points and junior guard Evan Legg (Piketon, OH) tossed in 10. Senior guard Jermaine Warmack (Orange, NJ) also added a game-high seven assists.
Hertz leads Rio Grande in scoring at 14.8 points per contest, while junior forward Josh Reagan (Cleveland, OH), Warmack and freshman forward Bilal Young (Cleveland, OH) average 12.8 ppg, 11.0 ppg and 10.5 ppg, respectively.
Reagan will be unavailable for the game as he serves a one-game suspension for his first half ejection in the win over the Bears.
Young also leads Rio Grande in rebounding at 7.6 per outing, while Warmack averages a team-best 4.1 assists per game.
St. Catharine (10-5, 4-2) posted an impressive 103-90 win over defending national champion and then-No. 13 Georgetown College last Saturday.
Omar Skinner had 22 points to lead five Patriots in double figures. Taron Franklin and Raymon Austin had 16 and 15 points, respectively, while William Tolefree had 14 and William Bailey tossed in 13.
Austin averages a team-high 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, while Tolefree averages 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest.
Skinner (13.4 ppg) and Bailey (12.0 ppg) are also scoring in double figures.
Although SCC leads the all-time series 5-1, the six previous meetings between the RedStorm and the Patriots have all been nail-biters and have been decided by just 27 combined points. The largest margin of victory has been just six points (three times by St. Catharine).
Live video and play-by-play of the contest will be available at www.ihigh.com/redstorm, with pregame beginning at approximately 7:45 p.m.