Updated Wed, Feb 26, 2014 4:25 pm
It sure has been a tough two weeks for Ken French’s Rio Grande RedStorm.
Rio (16-11, 9-7) fell to fourth place in the Mid-South Conference, lost four consecutive games and lost Josh Reagan in its game against Pikeville on Saturday due to a technical foul. The RedStorm hope to regain some momentum on Thursday night and finish strong in the second to last regular season game with a trip to Kentucky to face Lindsey Wilson (14-14, 5-11).
The RedStorm currently sit behind St. Catharine for fourth place in the MSC and rank just above Campbellsvile and the Cumberlands who along with Rio have nine wins in the conference.
Rio Grande won the last matchup with Lindsey Wilson in Newt Oliver Arena thanks to a late second half comeback led by Jermaine Warmack, who propelled Rio to a 75-72 victory over the previously No. 10 Blue Raiders.
Warmack netted 22 points and scored 16 of Rio’s last 19 points of the contest over a six-minute stretch. The senior guard hit all eight of his shots from the free throw line and made back-to-back 3-pointers to seal the game.
In the first matchup, Chase Cox led the Blue Raiders with 13 points off the bench but Rio held leading scorer Daronte’ Clark to only 10 points. The senior guard has shot 10 percent from the field in his past three games and hasn’t scored in double digits since Feb. 6, when he exploded for 23 points. Clark’s recent shooting inconsistency could work in Rio’s favor because Rio allowed 87.5 points during its four-game losing skid.
Rio Grande will also be forced to play without their leading scorer, Josh Reagan. The junior forward picked up a technical foul for taunting the Pikeville bench after hitting a shot in the first half of the game. His ejection on Saturday marked his fourth technical foul this season and was identical to his foul on Jan. 30 against Georgetown where he taunted the Tigers bench after nailing a three to tie the game.
The RedStorm has proven that they are capable of winning without Reagan. He did not play in the first matchup with Lindsey Wilson due to transfer regulations but he adds a dominant presence that is hard to replace.
Rio will need a huge outing from its star players who shined before Reagan took over the scoring reigns. Warmack hasn’t scored in double digits since Feb. 1 but has proven that he is capable of taking over games with his free-throw accuracy. Phillip Hertz and D.D. Joiner proved they are capable of stepping up in Reagan’s place after they scored 21 points each in the loss to Pikeville.
Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.