RIO GRANDE, Ohio — With the Christmas holiday just over one day away, there were “Lords a leapin’” inside the Newt Oliver Arena on Thursday afternoon.
Unfortunately for the RedStorm, it was Lourdes University leaping to a sixth straight victory.
The visiting Gray Wolves erased an eight-point first half deficit with a 24-6 run that fueled an eventual 70-53 non-conference triumph over Rio Grande.
Lourdes, a member of the NAIA Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference located in Sylvania, Ohio, upped its season record to 11-3 with the win.
Rio Grande suffered a third straight loss and dipped to 6-8.
The RedStorm started well and led 17-9 after a bucket by freshman Caleb Wallis (Jackson, OH) with 11:28 left in the first half, but Lourdes responded by scoring 24 of the game’s next 30 points over a span of just under eight minutes to take 33-23 advantage of their own.
The Gray Wolves settled for an eight-point halftime cushion, which Rio sliced to five, 36-31, after a three-pointer by sophomore Shiloah Blevins (South Webster, OH) with 19:26 remaining, but Lourdes countered with a 14-2 spurt over the course of the next seven minutes to take a commanding 17-point lead.
Rio Grande got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way and twice trailed by as many as 20 points.
The RedStorm shot just 34 percent overall (22-for-64) and only 28 percent from three-point range (9-for-32).
Lourdes connected on 29 of its 54 shots overall (53.7%) and was 10-for-19 from three-point range (52.6%).
Jackie Harris connected on six of the Gray Wolves’ trifectas and finished with a game- and career-high 22 points.
Nick Welch added 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to the winning effort, while Joey Holifield and Charlie Swain tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Blevins led Rio Grande with 13 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Eythan House (Montrose, Australia) finished with a career-high 12 points on four three-point goals of his own.
Wallis handed out a game-high five assists in a losing cause.
Just 15 total fouls were whistled by the three-man officiating crew and the two teams combined for just three free throw attempts — all by the Gray Wolves.
Rio Grande will return to action next Thursday at the University of Pikeville. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.