Updated Sat, Feb 15, 2014 10:08 pm
The road has not been kind for teams in the Mid-South Conference during the 2013-14 season. This has been especially true for the Rio Grande RedStorm, who dropped their second straight away game to the St. Catharine Patriots on Saturday night at Lourdes Hall Gymnasium, 78-63.
The Patriots (16-9, 9-6) extended their winning streak to three games and are currently 8-2 when playing at home. The victory also moves St. Catharine to just a half game behind Rio Grande (16-9, 9-5) for third place in MSC standings.
The RedStorm trailed for a majority of the game despite shooting nearly 50 percent from the field compared to 43 percent by the Patriots.
The loss marks the first time this season that Rio Grande has outshot its opponent from the field but still lost. It is also the first time the RedStorm have lost back-to-back games since Dec. 17 and 22 against Ohio Christian and Southeastern University, respectively.
A big reason for Rio’s struggles includes the 19 turnovers the Patriots forced in Saturday’s game. The RedStorm average just under 13 turnovers a game but the uncharacteristic 19 played a factor in Rio’s fifth defeat in the MSC.
The RedStorm also continued their shaky shooting from the charity stripe as they have now missed an unusual 23 foul shots in their past three games. Prior to the three-game road stretch, Rio ranked second in the NAIA in free throw percentage at just under 80 percent. After their past three games, the RedStorm’s free throw average has fallen four percent.
After trailing for the entire second half, the RedStorm closed the gap to 62-60 with 2:52 left. The Patriots, however, refused to let Rio take the lead and went on a 16-3 run to close out the game.
Omar Skinner came up big for the Patriots with a game-high 24 points and four steals. While Skinner led the Patriots offensive attack, sophomore D.D. Joiner played another impressive game against St. Catharine. In the teams’ first meeting, Joiner came out of his slump as he dropped a season-high 23 points. Joiner led the team in scoring again in scoring against the Patriots but also fouled out after missing two crucial foul shots to tie the game.
St. Catharine proved why it is ranked third in Division I of the NAIA in offensive rebounds with 15.5 a game as it beat Rio on the offensive glass 19-6.
After a week long road stretch – the longest of the season – Rio Grande returns home on Thursday night to take on the Bluefield Rams. Rio defeated the Rams on the road 88-85 in its first matchup when Josh Reagan poured in a team and season high 46 points.