SALEM, Va. - The University of Rio Grande committed a season-high 26 turnovers, allowing host Salem International University to pull away for a 79-63 victory over the RedStorm, Monday afternoon, in men’s basketball action at the T. Edward Davis Gymnaisum.
The Tigers improved to 5-6 with the win.
Rio Grande, which was coming off a 63-point triumph over Ohio University-Lancaster on Saturday to snap a four-game losing slide, dropped to 4-7 with the loss. The RedStorm also failed to put together back-to-back victories for the fourth time this season.
Head coach Ken French’s club outshot and outrebounded the host Tigers, but they were also their own worst enemy by turning the ball over 12 times in the first half and 14 more times after the intermission.
Rio Grande actually enjoyed a seven-point lead inside the game’s first 4-1/2 minutes and had a 15-10 advantage following a jumper by senior forward Turrell Morris with 12:58 left in the first half, but SIU ran off eight straight points - a spurt capped by a three-pointer by Freddy Edouard with 12:02 remaining before the break - to take an 18-15 lead of its own.
It was a lead the Tigers never relinquished.
SIU eventually built a 14-point cushion before settling for a 13-point halftime edge, 47-34.
Rio Grande got the first points of the second half on a lay-in by senior center Dominick Haynes just 40 seconds into the period, but the RedStorm didn’t score again until a bucket by Morris nearly seven minutes later.
By that time, the Tigers’ lead had ballooned to 23 points and Rio got no closer than 17 the rest of the way.
SIU’s biggest lead of the game was 26 points, 77-51, following a Ka’Mar LaBrew layup with 5:29 left to play. Rio outscored the Tigers 12-2 the rest of the way to set the final score.
LaBrew scored a game-high 23 points to pace a trio of double-digit scorers for SIU. Edouard had 13 points to go along with four assists and four steals, while Dexter Batts, Jr. netted 11 points.
Freshman guard D.D. Joiner was Rio Grande’s only player to reach double digits, finishing with 12 points. Morris tied junior guard Jermaine Warmack for team honors with six rebounds, while Warmack also had a team-best three assists and five steals.
The RedStorm shot 46 percent from the field (23-for-50) compared to 44.1 percent for Salem (26-for-59) and outrebounded the Tigers, 34-30. SIU committed 11 fewer turnovers than Rio, though, and was credited with a season-high 22 steals.
Rio Grande continues a week-long four-game road trip on Wednesday night, traveling to Buies Creek, N.C. for an exhibition game against Campbell University of the NCAA Division I Big South Conference. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.