Updated Wed, Nov 20, 2013 11:53 pm
Rio Grande (3-1) will be looking to start a new winning streak in the conference Thursday night, as it opens up Mid-South Conference play. The RedStorm will play host to the undefeated Cumberland University Bulldogs (4-0).
Last season, Cumberland made its debut as a full-time member of the MSC against the RedStorm on Nov. 16, 2012. D.D Joiner poured in a career-high 27 points to lead Rio Grande to a second half comeback win, 74-55. The game marked the first matchup between the two schools. Rio Grande won its conference season opener for the first time since joining the MSC five years ago.
Rio Grande is looking to rebound from its first loss of the season. The RedStorm lost the championship game of the Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament last weekend to Cincinnati Christian University, 87-80.
The RedStorm struggled defensively, allowing the Eagles to shoot 69 percent from the field in the first half. Rio Grande’s offense, however, remained strong as four players scored in double figures. Junior forward Phillip Hertz led the RedStorm with a team-high 21 points, including five three-pointers. Guards Ricky Tisdale and Evan Legg had 13 points apiece while Travis Elliot netted 12 points.
Hertz leads the team in scoring with 18.5 points per game, while Jalen Harris and Jermaine Warmack are averaging eight rebounds and five assists, respectively.
Cumberland University enters the game against Rio Grande on a 4-game win streak. The Bulldogs are averaging 79 points per contest and are coming off of a 73-69 victory against Morris College in the Roadrunner Club Classic in Dalton, Ga.
One area of concern for the undefeated Bulldogs is the 3-point shooting department. Cumberland is only shooting 25.7 percent (9-35) from behind the arc over the past two games.
Despite recent struggles from behind the arc, the Bulldogs have had no problem dominating their opponents from inside. Sophomore guard Alex Flagler has been the primary facilitator on offense for the Bulldogs, averaging 17.5 points per contest. Junior forward Moritz Dern and freshman guard Marquel Hickerson are averaging five rebounds and three assists, respectively.
Tipoff between Rio Grande and Cumberland is set for 8 p.m. on Thursday in the Newt Oliver Arena.