Updated Fri, Jan 3, 2014 9:39 pm
The Rio Grande RedStorm (9-5, 2-1) conclude their two-game road swing in Kentucky on Saturday evening against Mid-South Conference foe Georgetown College (11-2, 2-0) at Davis-Reid Alumni Gym. This game is Rio’s fourth conference matchup of the season and it comes against the defending national champion and second-ranked Georgetown Tigers.
The RedStorm enter this MSC battle with a two-game win streak after narrowly defeating Cincinnati-Clermont 94-92 on Dec. 31 and Cumberlands 66-65 on Thursday night. Both victories were decided by game-winning free throws from Rio Grande’s senior point guard Jermaine Warmack who ranks fifth in Division I of the NAIA in free throw shooting at 91.9 percent.
Under head coach Ken French, the RedStorm have never gone 2-0 on the same road trip. Completing this goal will be a tall task because the Tigers have all 11 of their wins at home this season.
“Winning this game would be phenomenal,” French said. “Going 2-0 on the road is a great week. Going 1-1 is a good week and we have already guaranteed ourselves a good week. We’re looking for this to be a great one but obviously that’s going to be difficult because they [Georgetown] are the defending national champion and are undefeated at home.”
This game will be a challenge for Rio as Georgetown currently ranks second in Division I of the NAIA. After winning its first nine games of the season, Georgetown dropped its next two on the road against Life University on Dec. 2 and Martin Methodist College on Dec. 14. The Tigers, however, bounced back after the holiday break with a 113-85 win on Dec. 29 over Miami-Hamilton and a 98-53 rout against Shawnee State on Thursday night. To go along with its 11-2 record, Georgetown also ranks first in total rebounds with over 50 a game and first in scoring at an average of 101.6 points per game.
“They [Georgetown] have a very good and very athletic team. They rank first in the nation in rebounds, offensive rebounds, scoring, and blocks,” French said. “If it’s a high possession game that’s not good for us because they’re an up-tempo team that can score in bunches and we don’t want to play their game.”
Leading the scoring charge for the Tigers is senior guard Monty Wilson who is averaging 23.75 points a game, which ranks second in the NAIA. He also ranks eighth in the NAIA with 285 total points through 13 games. While Wilson paces the team in scoring, Deondre McWhorter leads the team with nine rebounds a game. McWhorter’s post presence is a big reason why the Tigers rank first in offensive rebounds and blocks per game.
“When a shot is taken they have two or three guys that need to be blocked out. It’s vital that they don’t get offensive rebounds off of long-range shots,” French said. “Every player has to make sure his guy doesn’t get a rebound. We’re all about team rebounding because it takes a collective group effort starting with the post players and going to our three guards.”
Both Rio Grande and Georgetown carry two-game win streaks going into Thursday’s contest and the Tigers look to stay undefeated at home. With a win, the RedStorm would pick up their third victory in the MSC and their second win over a ranked opponent this season.