Updated Fri, Feb 14, 2014 4:45 pm
Escaping three straight road games with at least two wins is the goal for the Rio Grande RedStorm as they enter Saturday’s 4 p.m. matchup against the St. Catharine Patriots.
The RedStorm (16-8, 9-4) were defeated by the Campbellsville Tigers 83-80 Thursday night after Rio Grande junior forward Josh Reagan missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The loss moves the RedStorm to a 5-3 road record as they look to improve upon that category against the Patriots (15-9, 8-6) at Lourdes Hall Gymnasium.
In their previous matchup at Newt Oliver Arena back on Jan. 16, the unranked RedStorm knocked off No. 14 St. Catharine 71-68. D.D. Joiner came out of his sophomore slump in the game for the RedStorm as he dropped a season-high 23 points, 15 of which came from behind the arc. Jermaine Warmack iced the contest with a pair of foul shots in the final seconds extending the RedStorm’s win streak to five games.
The victory over St. Catharine also gave Rio its third win over a team ranked in top 25 in the NAIA, the first time it had ever accomplished that feat.
The roles, however, are reversed in Saturday’s Mid-South Conference battle with Rio Grande ranked nationally and the Patriots sitting just outside of the top 25.
The RedStorm remain at third place in the tough MSC heading into the home stretch of the 2013-14 season. The Patriots are also one spot behind Rio Grande in MSC standings and are looking to avenge their loss last month.
Not only is St. Catharine tough to defeat at home with a 7-2 record at Lourdes Hall, but the Patriots also rank in the top five as a team in Division I of the NAIA in two different categories.
One of these areas includes offensive rebounds with 15.5 a game for the Patriots, led by forward William Tolefree who is averaging nearly six rebounds per contest.
In order to remain nationally ranked and placed towards the top of the MSC, the RedStorm must fight off the Patriots who are riding a two-game win streak. St. Catharine has captured four of its past six games by a combined 63 points.
Another slip up for the RedStorm would allow St. Catharine to shrink the two-game lead Rio has over the Patriots in league standings. With a close contest that came down to the wire in the first matchup, look for Saturday’s rematch to be just as tight for these MSC foes.