Rio Grande Opens MSC Tournament With Georgetown

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On Jan. 30 the RedStorm suffered what was perhaps their most heartbreaking defeat of the season. Rio Grande played one of its most complete halves of the season that night and entered halftime leading the No. 6 Georgetown College Tigers 48-27. That lead quickly evaporated, however, as the Tigers came storming back and defeated Rio Grande 78-73.

The seventh seeded Rio Grande RedStorm (18-12, 7-11 MSC) will have an opportunity to exact revenge on Friday when they travel to Cumberland University to take on the second seeded No. 9 Georgetown College Tigers (19-7, 13-5 MSC) in the first round of the Mid-South Conference Tournament.

Rio Grande ended its regular season on somewhat of a low note, dropping its final two games by a combined 48 points. This did come, however, on the heels of an impressive 3-game winning streak that essentially punched the RedStorm’s ticket to the tournament. Georgetown also lost its last regular season game, but has won three of its last four.

The last matchup between these two teams proved that the RedStorm are very capable of hanging with the nationally ranked Tigers. In order to do so, Rio Grande will have to be able to stop Georgetown’s dynamic duo in the backcourt. Senior guards Andrea Howard and Kourtney Tyra have torched the RedStorm in both matchups this season.

In the first meeting, in which Georgetown won 101-78, Howard finished with a game-high 34 points and Tyra was not far behind her with 29 points. In the second matchup it was more of the same. Tyra tallied a game-high 27 points and Howard finished with 16 points.

For the RedStorm, much of their fate will hang on how well they are able to shoot the ball. When Rio Grande connects on four or more three pointers, its record is 14-4. When the RedStorm make less than four three pointers, they are just 4-8. Despite this inconsistent shooting from beyond the arc, Rio Grande still ranks fourth in NAIA Division I in scoring offense per game with an average of 85.1 points per game. 

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. The winner of Friday’s game will go on to face the winner of third seeded Cumberlands (Ky.) and sixth seeded Pikeville in the tournament semifinal.