RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Junior forward Josh Reagan had a team-high 35 points and nine rebounds to lead the University of Rio Grande past the University of the Cumberlands, 99-96 in overtime, Saturday afternoon, in Mid-South Conference men’s basketball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm, who are ranked No. 14 in the latest NAIA Division I coaches poll, improved to 15-7 overall and 8-3 in the MSC with the win - their third straight against the Patriots over the past two seasons.
The victory also secured Rio Grande’s first winning season since the 2008-09 campaign when it finished 20-11 in the now-defunct NAIA Division II America Mideast Conference.
Cumberlands dropped to 13-8 overall and 5-6 in league play with the loss.
Freshman forward Bilal Young (Cleveland, OH) added 17 points in the winning effort for Rio Grande, while senior guard Jermaine Warmack (Orange, N.J.) and sophomore guard D.D. Joiner (Columbus, OH) finished with 11 points apiece. Warmack also had a team-high five assists.
The Patriots were led in the loss by R.J. Scott, who had a game-high 36 points and seven rebounds to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.
Tony Bradley had 15 points and Shaquille Lowery finished with 14 points and seven assists in a losing cause for UC, while Steve Goins chipped in with 11 points.
After the previous two meetings in the series were decided in double overtime and on a free throw with no time remaining, Saturday’s get together produced 11 ties and nine lead changes.
Rio Grande led by as many as 13 points with just over two minutes remaining in the first half, but the Patriots closed the gap to eight by halftime and finished the comeback when a three-pointer by Scott with 6:30 remaining in regulation gave the visitors a 68-66 advantage.
A back-and-forth exchange ensued down the home stretch, with five of the 11 ties and four of the nine lead changes taking place in the final 5:29.
Rio led by as many as four points as late as 1:42 left to play, but a three-pointer by UC’s Michael Dow with 1:27 remaining and a jumper in the lane by Taylor Gover with 52 seconds showing sent the Patriots back in front, 80-79.
The RedStorm regained the advantage on a pair of free throws by Joiner with 34 seconds left, but a three-pointer by Scott with eight seconds remaining gave UC an 83-81 edge.
Warmack sent the game to overtime by going coast-to-coast following Scott’s go-ahead trifecta and scoring on a layup with two seconds left to knot the tally at 83-all.
Scott canned one of two free throws just 15 seconds into the extra session to give the Patriots a one-point lead, but Reagan - a native of Cleveland, Ohio - scored on a layup just 19 seconds later to give Rio Grande a lead it would never relinquish.
The RedStorm twice led by as many as five points in the overtime and UC closed to within a point on three occasions, but the Patriots never managed to re-tie the game or get the lead back.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday, traveling to Portsmouth for its second meeting of the season against rival Shawnee State. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.