Rio Defeats Berea, Will Play Taylor In Tournament Final

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The Rio Grande RedStorm rolled into Odle Arena at Taylor University in Upland, Ind.. and defeated the Berea College Mountaineers 75-64 in the first round of the Ivanhoe’s Classic. The RedStorm were led by Jermaine Warmack who had game highs in points, steals, assists, and rebounds.

This victory extends Rio’s winning streak to three games and improves its record to 6-2 overall. The RedStorm also snapped Berea’s five-game winning streak and gave it only its second loss of the year. Warmack scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half as Rio shot 50 percent (11-22) from the field after halftime. This marks Warmack’s sixth game scoring in double figures as he is averaging 13.8 points a game. Warmack also had a game-high four assists and four steals to go along with his game-high seven rebounds. D.D. Joiner posted 14 points of his own for the second straight game after returning from a foot injury in Rio’s game against the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders back on Nov. 23.

This contest began with Berea jumping out to an early 8-1 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Rio, however, responded quickly and went on an 18-3 run of its own grabbing a lead it would not relinquish. The Mountaineers closed the gap at halftime, trailing 38-34, but that would be as close as they would get as Rio Grande opened the second half on a 19-8 run on over 11 minutes of play.

Despite Warmack’s big game, the RedStorm turned the ball over 18 times playing into the hands of the Mountaineers. Berea has forced 20 turnovers a game this season, which ranks fourth in Division II of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Daishon Robinson led the way for the Mountaineers with 14 points putting his average at 20 a game.

With the win, Rio Grande advances to the title game to take on the host Taylor Trojans (6-4). Taylor won its game 94-72 Friday night against Indiana-Dabney giving the team its fourth straight home victory. The Trojans shot an impressive 52.2 percent from the field and was led by senior forward Josh Riikonen who scored a game-high 19 points on eight rebounds. Taylor outscored Indiana-Dabney 31-9 on points off the bench thanks in part its sixth man Jesse Coffey who hit four trifectas on the night.

Rio and Taylor square off at 3 p.m. inside Odle Arena for a chance to win the 30th Annual Ivanhoe’s Classic.