MIDWAY, Ky. — Playing on the road with its top two scorers injured and watching from the bench in street clothes, it would’ve been easy for the University of Rio Grande men’s basketball to hoist the white flag and surrender to its situation.
The RedStorm thought otherwise, though.
Head coach Ryan Arrowood’s squad trailed for all of 49 seconds on Wednesday night as Cam Schreiter dropped in a game- and season-high 18 points to fuel a 58-55 win over Midway University in the quarterfinal round of the River States Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at Marshall Gymnasium.
Rio Grande, the tourney’s No. 5 seed through a double-blind draw to determine the bracket, picked up a fifth straight win en route to improving to 15-8.
The victory also sends the RedStorm into Saturday’s semifinals to face No. 1 seed Point Park University, which upended Asbury University, 71-70, in another of Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchups.
Midway, the No. 4 seed, finished its season at 7-11.
The Eagles scored the game’s first points on an alley-oop dunk by Kwon Evans just two seconds into the contest, but Rio tied the game 49 seconds later on a jumper in the lane by Schreiter — a senior from Mason, Ohio — and took a lead it would never relinquish on a three-pointer by freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) with 18:37 left in the first half.
The RedStorm played without the services of sophomores Miki Tadic (Hilversum, The Netherlands) and Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH), who average 17.4 and 16.7 points per game, respectively. Both were injured in Monday night’s opening round win over Indiana University Southeast.
Freshman Andrew Shull (Milton, WV), the club’s third-leading scorer at 16 points per outing, was also injured in the win over IUS, but did manage 35 minutes of less-than-100 percent playing time on Wednesday. He finished with six points on 2-for-12 shooting after hitting 11 of his 13 shots and score 26 points prior to being injured on Monday night.
Rio Grande led by as many as 10 points in the first half before settling on a 24-21 halftime cushion.
The advantage went back to 10 points with just over four minutes remaining when a stick back of an offensive rebound by sophomore Taylor Mack (Akron, OH) made it 54-44, but the Eagles immediately responded with an 11-2 run and sliced the deficit to 56-55 after Donnie Miller hit one of two free throws with 1:00 left to play.
Shull connected on a pair of free just two seconds later to give the RedStorm a three-point edge, but Midway misfired on four three-point attempts in the final 41 seconds — the last of which came at the final buzzer — allowing Rio to secure the win.
Schreiter, who also had a game-high three assists and two steals for the RedStorm, was joined in double figures by Wallis and freshman Redeetris Richardson (Atlanta, GA), who finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Mack pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and also had a pair of steals in the winning effort, while junior Kam Harris (Amelia, VA) was also credited with two steals.
Rio Grande shot 40.7 percent for the game (24-for-59) and out rebounded its host, 40-34.
Miller and Ricardo Travis scored 14 points each to lead Midway, while Evans — the reigning RSC Player of the Week — was limited to just nine points before fouling out late.
The nine points for Evans represented his second-lowest scoring total of the season and his fewest points scored since netting six in a season-opening loss to Georgetown College.
Evans did have a team-high eight rebounds in a losing cause, while Travis led the Eagles with four assists.
Rio Grande will host Saturday’s game with Point Park, with tipoff scheduled for 5 p.m. Live video on a pay-per-view basis will be available at http://portal.stretchinternet.com/rsc.
The RedStorm and the Pioneers met just once in the regular season, with Point Park posting a 77-74 win in overtime on Jan. 30.
The second meeting between the two teams, which was slated for Feb. 18 in Rio Grande, was canceled due to inclement weather.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.