PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Fourth-ranked University of Pikeville used a 25-6 run which bridged the final two minutes of the first half and the first 5-1/2 minutes of the second stanza to fuel a 96-78 win over 20th-ranked University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action.
The Bears improved to 16-2 overall and 7-1 in the MSC, taking sole possession of the league lead in the process.
The win was also Pikeville’s 11th consecutive victory over Rio Grande.
The RedStorm, who had a six-game winning streak snapped, slipped to 13-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
UPike led just 37-33 following a pair of free throws by Rio junior forward Josh Reagan (Cleveland, OH) with 2:15 left in the first half, but the Bears closed the half on an 11-3 run to take a 12-point lead at the intermission and then scored 14 of the first 17 points after the break to essentially put the game away.
The Bears’ biggest lead of the night came a little over five minutes later when a highlight-reel slam dunk by Wichita State transfer Kenny Manigault made it 77-46 with 9:17 left in the contest.
Rio Grande, which forged three ties but never managed to grab the lead, got no closer than the final margin of defeat the rest of the way.
The RedStorm were led in the loss by senior guard Ricky Tisdale (Bolivar, TN) and freshman forward Bilal Young (Cleveland, OH), both of whom scored 16 points. Tisdale’s point total tied a career-high.
Sophomore forward Phillip Hertz (Rungsted Kyst, Denmark) added 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds and Reagan finished with 13 points.
Rio shot just 36.7 percent (22-for-60) from the field for the game, while also being outrebounded 46-30 and committing 20 turnovers.
Pikeville, whose roster includes seven NCAA Division I transfers, got 22 points from Keala King and 20 more from Elisha Justice in the victory, while Manigault (12) Chris Cantino (11) and Bruce Reed (10) also reached double figures.
Cantino added a game-high 12 rebounds and Reed blocked five shots for the Bears, who shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half and 53.1 percent for the game.
The two teams were whistled for a combined 54 fouls and 77 free throw attempts.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.