Updated Sat, Feb 22, 2014 9:56 pm
Senior night for Rio Grande ended on a bitter note as the No. 2 Pikeville Bears upended the No. 19 RedStorm 111-76 at Newt Oliver Arena. This win gives the Bears (25-2, 15-1) their 11th straight victory as they hand Rio Grande (16-11, 9-7) its fourth consecutive loss.
Pikeville proved why it ranks first in the nation in scoring margin per victory as they routed the RedStorm by 35 points Saturday afternoon.
Rio has now lost to the first place Bears twice this year by a combined 53 points. This also marks Rio’s worst home defeat of the 2013-14 season as it ends with a 10-6 record at Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm were down 26-20 in the first half until junior Josh Reagan knocked down a trifecta to pull Rio Grande within three.
Reagan, however, picked up a technical foul for taunting the Bears after hitting the shot with 9:58 left in the first half.
This marks Reagan’s fourth technical this season as he was called for an identical foul back on Jan. 30 against the Georgetown Tigers for taunting the Tigers bench after making a three to tie the game.
With six seconds remaining, Ricky Tisdale hit the court hard on an inbounds play at the end of the first half.
While trainers went to check on Tisdale, Reagan sprinted off the Rio Grande bench to physically confront the Bears at mid-court and was immediately ejected from the game.
In total, the RedStorm picked up two intentional fouls, one technical foul, and the ejection of Reagan.
Pikeville senior star Chris Cantino, who leads the NAIA in offensive rebounds with 5.4 a game, was also ejected from this heated game in the first half.
Despite all of the drama, the Bears were able to close out the first half on a 20-6 run to grab a 59-35 lead.
Despite Cantino’s absence, the Bears were able to cruise past Rio Grande in the second half grabbing their ninth victory of scoring 100 or more points.
Rio Grande hits the road for its last two games of the season as it takes on Lindsey Wilson on Feb. 27 and Cumberland University on March 1.
For now, the RedStorm must re-group and try to overcome their current four-game losing streak. Seniors Jermaine Warmack and Ricky Tisdale must also rebound from their last home loss and lead the team before entering the Mid-South Conference Tournament.
“They [Warmack and Tisdale] deserve the best and I’m honored to have coached them,” head coach Ken French said.