Rio MBB Preview: Blue Raiders Try To Weather The RedStorm

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A two-game losing streak follows the Rio Grande RedStorm (3-2) going into their game against the nationally ranked Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders (4-2). Both teams are searching for their first win in the Mid South Conference entering this 6 p.m. contest at Newt Oliver Arena.

After dropping its MSC opener 74-72 to Cumberland University, the RedStorm look to snap their two-game losing streak against a Blue Raiders team that is averaging 80 points a game. Lindsey Wilson is also 0-1 in the MSC after losing 63-54 to Shawnee State.

In the loss to Cumberland, RedStorm guard D.D. Joiner returned after missing three games with a foot injury including the entire Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament. Joiner only shot 1-for-8 from the field and Rio will need him to step up against tenth-ranked Lindsey Wilson. Along with Joiner, the RedStorm rely on sophomore forward, Phillip Hertz, who has scored in double figures in four out of the first five games. Hertz is shooting nearly 60 percent from the field and leads the team in scoring with 17.6 points a game.

The nationally ranked Blue Raiders are led by Tony Horne, who is averaging nearly 20 points a game. After losing its first game of the season, Lindsey Wilson won four straight before its loss to Shawnee State. The Blue Raiders are also out-rebounding opponents 218-177 this year, which poses problems for Rio’s post players. The RedStorm need center Sterling Smoak to be dominant on the glass as well as Bilal Young who had a game-high 10 rebounds against Cumberland.

Saturday’s contest marks Rio Grande’s fourth straight home game and the RedStorm have not used the home court to their advantage thus far as they are 1-2 in their past three games. A win against No. 10 Lindsey Wilson would break Rio’s two-game losing streak and give the Blue Raiders their second straight loss this week.