Updated Fri, Jan 3, 2014 3:41 pm
Jermaine Warmack was called upon to win the game once again and he did not disappoint. The senior guard knocked down a crucial free throw with no time left on the clock to lift Rio Grande to a 66-65 thrilling victory over the Cumberlands (8-4).
Rio recently relied on Warmack to sink two game-winning free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining in the contest to narrowly defeat Cincinatti-Clermont on Monday. Warmack has only missed five free throws all season and ranks fifth in the NAIA in free throw shooting at 91.9 percent. With the win, the RedStorm improve to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in the Mid-South Conference.
The game was a nip and tuck affair from the tipoff;,featuring 12 ties and 10 lead changes. The Cumberlands led by as many as four points on three separate occasions in the opening half, before Rio caught fire and closed the half on a 10-2 run to take a five point, 33-28 lead at halftime.
Rio Grande held the largest lead of the night at seven points after a layup by Jermaine Warmack on the first possession of the second half. The Patriots quickly bounced back and regained a 42-41 advantage of their own after a 3-point play by James Archie with 13:54 left to play.
Rio once again took the lead thanks to a crucial 3-point shot by junior guard Travis Elliot on the ensuing possession. The RedStorm never trailed again. The Patriots managed to stay close and were able to tie the game twice in the final eight minutes but that momentum was halted when Rio once again called upon its senior leader, Jermaine Warmack, to do what he does best.
Rio Grande quickly worked the ball up the court and managed to lay the ball in its playmaker’s swift hands. Warmack got off a running jumper in the lane that was off the mark, but was able to muscle his way to the basket in order to rebound his own miss and was fouled on a follow-up attempt as time expired. Warmack misfired on his first try before taking a deep breath and calmly sinking his final attempt to seal the victory.
Junior forward Josh Reagan led the RedStorm with 20 points followed by Warmack who added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Evan Legg netted nine points and D.D. Joiner added eight in the winning effort.
Four Patriot players scored in double figures in the losing cause. Shaquille Lowery led the way with 19 points, followed by James Archie who netted 14. Tony Bradley and R.J. Scott finished the night with 12 points each.
Rio will look to continue its winning streak and wrap up its two-game weekend road swing on Saturday at defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Georgetown College (11-2). Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Davis-Reid Alumni Gym in Georgetown, Ky.