RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Desmond Crosby, Jr. scored 13 of his career-high 18 points in the second half to lift Shawnee State University past the University of Rio Grande, 68-58, Tuesday night, in non-conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Justin Johnson and Selby Hind-Wills added 12 points each for the Bears, who improved to 9-3 with the victory, while EJ Onu tallied a game-high 10 rebounds and four blocked.
Rio Grande, which played without the services of junior Kyle Lamotte (Mason, OH) – its second-leading scorer – slipped to 6-6 overall as a result of a third straight loss. Lamotte suffered an ankle injury in last Saturday’s overtime loss at Ohio Christian.
Rio raced to a 15-8 lead just over seven minutes into the contest, but the Bears rallied to grab a seven-point lead of their own with just over four minutes to play in the first half before settling on a 28-24 advantage at the intermission.
The RedStorm regained a 33-32 lead after a three-pointer by senior Hadith Tiggs (Mayfield Heights, OH) with 16:34 left in the contest, but a pair of free throws by Shawnee State’s Tim Biakapia just under one minute later put the Bears in front for good.
A trio of second half scoring spurts helped SSU maintain its edge.
Rio closed to within 43-41 following a three-pointer by sophomore Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY) with 12:48 remaining in the game, but Shawnee responded with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to open up a 10-point advantage.
Short hit one of two free throw attempts with 7:19 left to get the RedStorm within 51-48, but the Bears reeled off seven consecutive points over the next four minutes to, again, take a 10-point lead.
Tiggs canned a jumper with 1:38 remaining to slice the Shawnee State lead to 59-52, but a 7-0 spurt by the Bears over the next minute produced a 14-point cushion and settled the issue once and for all.
Rio Grande shot just 28.6 percent from the floor in the first half and finished the game at 31.6 percent (18-for-57) against a Shawnee defense ranked No. 3 in NAIA Division I in field goal percentage defense.
The RedStorm were also outrebounded, 43-32.
Short and Tiggs led Rio in scoring with 20 and 12 points, respectively, while sophomore Markus Geldenhuys (Pretoria, South Africa) had a team-best eight rebounds. Short also finished with five assists.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Carlow University in a River States Conference matchup as part of the Newt Oliver Coaches Classic.
Tipoff is set for approximately 3 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.