RIO GRANDE, Ohio – D.D. Joiner scored a game-high 21 points to lead five University of Rio Grande players in double figures, as the RedStorm pulled away for a 102-65 win over Miami University-Middletown in the opening round of the Saunders Insurance Tip-Off Classic, Friday night, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande led just 24-23 after a bucket by Middletown’s Malik Jacbos with 8:23 remaining in the first half, but the RedStorm reeled off 16 of the next 17 points and never looked back en route to the blowout victory.
Rio Grande (1-0) shot 57.4 percent from the field for the game, including 66.7 percent in the second half (22-for-33), and led by as many as 38 points with just under eight minutes remaining.
Joiner, a senior guard from Columbus, Ohio, connected on eight of his 12 field goal attempts and also collected six rebounds in just under 20 minutes of playing time.
Senior guard Kevonta Black (Nashville, TN) added 12 points and a game-high seven assists, while freshman forward Abe Eze (Lagos, Nigeria) had 12 points and tied sophomore teammate DeVon Price (Pickerington, OH) for game-high rebounding honors with seven each.
Senior forward Travis Elliott (Ironton, OH), who missed all of the 2014-15 season with a knee injury, scored 11 points off the bench in his return, while junior forward Matt Rhodes (Westerville, OH) had 10 points in his Rio debut.
Jacobs netted 18 points in a losing cause for Miami-Middletown (0-2), while Cooper Nolte and Tre Hudson finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Thunderhawks committed 18 turnovers and were outrebounded 44-30.
MU-M will face Asbury University, a 68-55 loser to Taylor University on Friday night, in Saturday’s second round of the Classic at 2 p.m. Rio Grande will face Taylor in the 4 p.m. finale.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.