BECKLEY, W.Va. — The University of Rio Grande entered Saturday afternoon’s regular season finale riding a three-game winning streak.
West Virginia University-Tech found itself playing for a national tournament berth and a division championship.
And for good measure, it was Senior Day for the Golden Bears.
Advantage home team.
Elisha Boone scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, including five in a game-opening 12-0 run, leading ninth-ranked Tech to a 91-70 rout of the RedStorm in River States Conference men’s basketball action at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
WVU-Tech improved to 26-4 overall and 15-2 inside the RSC with the win, clinching a share of the East Division crown with Indiana University East in the process.
The Golden Bears also nailed down a berth to the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament as the league’s regular season champion. A pair of wins over IU East gave Tech the tie-breaker.
Rio Grande finished the regular season at 12-18 overall and 6-11 in league play.
Boone, one of four seniors honored in pregame ceremonies, fueled the early onslaught, which saw the Golden Bears take a 12-0 lead just under 3-1/2 minutes into the game.
The advantage reached 19 points with 13-1/2 minutes left before halftime and grew as large as 29 points, 47-18, after a Brandon Shingles three-pointer with 4:16 before the intermission.
Rio Grande scored the first six points of the second half to slice the deficit to 19, but got no closer the rest of the way.
In fact, the Golden Bears were able to re-establish its 29-point cushion after a bucket by Thomas Collins with 4:57 left to play made it 84-55.
In addition to his 22 points, Boone finished with a team-high seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Three others reached double figures in the win for Tech. Junior Arrey netted 14 points, Collins finished with 13 points and Shingles tossed in 11.
Collins, like Boone, had seven rebounds.
Rio Grande was led by sophomore Kyle Lamotte (Mason, OH), who had 20 points and a pair of steals, and senior Earl Russell (Warrington, England), who finished with 15 points and a pair of blocked shots.
Junior Cameron Schreiter (Mason, OH) totaled nine points, eight rebounds and a career-high six assists in a losing cause.
Rio Grande will try to rebound on Wednesday night in the quarterfinal round of the RSC Men’s Basketball Championship.
The RedStorm, who are the No. 3 seed from the East Division, will face West Division No. 2 seed Asbury University at the Luce Center in Wilmore, Ky.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.