CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. — A 10-0 scoring spurt helped Thomas More University erase an early lead for the University of Rio Grande.
Layup after layup – and a propensity to transform turnovers into points – helped the Saints bury the RedStorm.
Thomas More shot 62 percent from the floor and scored 29 points off of Rio Grande miscues in a 76-51 thrashing of the RedStorm, Saturday afternoon, in non-conference men’s basketball action at the Connor Convocation Center.
The Saints, who were among the schools receiving votes in the most recent NAIA Division I coaches’ poll, improved to 11-1 with the victory – their seventh in as many home outings this season.
Rio Grande slipped to 8-8 as a result of the loss.
In just the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools and the first in just over 37 years, the RedStorm enjoyed early leads of 2-0 and 4-2.
But TMU reeled off 10 straight points after the second of the two deficits and never trailed again.
The Saints consistently carved up Rio’s post defense and finished the day 31-for-50 from the field, going 16-for-25 in the first half and 15-for-25 over the final 20 minutes.
The RedStorm also committed 17 turnovers in the contest, which helped produce a 29-6 advantage in points off of turnovers for the home team.
Thomas More also clamped down defensively on Rio’s leading scorer for the season, sophomore Gunner Short (Catlettsburg, KY).
Short, who entered play averaging just under 19 points per contest, was limited to just two points in 30 minutes of action on 1-for-8 shooting. His only bucket of the day came with 15:44 left to play when the RedStorm already trailed by 18 points.
Reid Jolly led a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Saints with a game-high 23 points. He also had a game-best five rebounds and two blocked shots.
Keegan Saben added 16 points in the winning effort, while Ryan Batted had 14 points to go along with a team-high three assists and Garren Bertsch finished with 11 points.
Junior Trey Kelley (Minford, OH) was Rio’s only double-figure scorer, finishing with 12 points via four of the RedStorm’s six three-pointers in the game.
Freshmen Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) and Dwaine Simmons (Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos) both had five rebounds in a losing cause, while senior Greg Wallace (Montego Bay, Jamaica) handed out three assists.
Rio Grande returns to action on Dec. 30 when it travels to the University of Northwestern Ohio for a 3 p.m. tipoff with the Racers.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande