RedStorm fall short vs. Cumberlands
February 11, 2011By Mark Williams of University of Rio Grande
Rio Grande --- For the second straight game the University of Rio Grande RedStorm men's basketball team found itself against the NAIA's 20th ranked team as they played host to the University of the Cumberlands on Thursday evening at the Newt Oliver Arena in Mid-South Conference action. For the second time, Rio battled hard and fell just short, losing, 78-69.
Rio Grande (5-19, 0-13 MSC) fell behind 19-8 early in the first half and was showing signs of this being a very long night, but Rio did not quit and battled back to cut the deficit to 19-16. Cumberlands (14-8, 10-3 MSC) would surge ahead by 12 points at 34-22, but Rio battled back to cut the margin to seven points at the half (36-29).
The RedStorm used an 11-4 run to start the second half and knot the score at 40-40. The RedStorm would take the lead at 49-47 at the 13:37 mark as the two teams traded baskets.
Cumberlands would get the distance it needed, going on a 15-3 run to take control of the game at 64-54 with 7:12 remaining. Rio was not finished however, fighting back to within four points in the final minute, cutting the deficit to 73-69 on a basket from sophomore forward Dani Marti (Valencia, Spain) with 43.3 seconds left.
Junior forward Shaun Gunnell (Columbus, OH) paced the RedStorm with a near double-double effort of 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior center Robbie Jackson (Abderdeen, MD), junior guard Brad Cubbie (Dayton, OH) and senior forward Meau Jones (Hartwell, GA) added 11 points each and Marti nearly reached double figures tossing in nine points.
Cumberlands placed four players in double figures led by Tanner Jacobs with 22 points (16 in the second half) and Matt Daniel with 20 points, on the strength of five three-pointers. Jared Cunningham scored 17 points and collected six rebounds off the bench and Anthony Snell chipped in 13 points.
Both teams shot the ball well, Rio Grande hit 28-of-55 (50.9 percent), including 3-of-9 (33.3 percent) from long range. Cumberlands countered with 51.7 percent (31-of-60) shooting, going 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) from beyond the three-point arc.
"We just played the 20th team in the country and they're very good, they'll probably move up in the rankings, they're playing very well," said Rio Grande head coach Ken French. "They're playing as well as anybody in our league right now and our guys went toe-to-toe with them."
"We didn't play this way down there and our guys knew that and we wanted to come out and we wanted to play well, we've been playing better and I thought there were times where we had them on their heels," French added. "Our defensive aggressiveness was the best it's been all year and that's something to hang our hat on. We've just got to improve and eliminate our mental mistakes and a win's coming."
Cumberlands gets the season sweep over Rio Grande and remains entrenched in second place in the MSC Standings.
Rio Grande will lock horns with Lindsey Wilson College on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Lindsey won the first match-up this season, 63-51 at home, Jan. 8. Gunnell had 14 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
A live video stream of the game can be seen on iHigh.com at 4 p.m. following the women's game.