Rio Grande, OH: The Alice Lloyd College Eagles got their usual big game from Blake Smith as well as solid play from Noah Young, and defeated the home-standing University of Rio Grande Red Storm, 83-77. The River States Conference matchup was held on Thursday, January 23rd.
RGU entered the contest hot, having won their last outing at Asbury. In the first half, the two squads traded buckets as the game remained tight. A long-distance bomb with 12:29 on the clock gave Rio a 14-11 lead. Little did they know that would be their largest lead of the night.
Junior guard Bryce Slone came off the bench to lead a resurgence, as he would sink three long trifectas. When Smith drained a difficult jumper with .33 remaining, he gave the Caney Creek squad a 33-31 advantage at intermission.
In the second half, Alice Lloyd would see Smith rise once more. After scoring just two points in the first eighteen minutes of the game, the senior began to go to work. In the first 5:30 of the final stanza, he would pump in nine points. Later, at 14:08, big Colyn Sturgill capped off a 17-5 spurt with a beautiful inside move for two, ALC now led 50-36.
However, the men from Ohio refused to go down quietly. The Red Storm would chip slowly chip into the deficit and hit several late threes to get as close as 77-74 with .25 remaining. Naturally, a win over a solid club on their home floor is never easy. Fortunately for Alice Lloyd, Smith slammed the door shut by coolly swishing six consecutive free throws to seal the big victory.
For ALC (10-11; 4-5 RSC), they were led by Smith who poured in 32 big points. He sank 10-18 field goals (1-1 3FG) and added 13-15 from the charity stripe. Additionally, he added 1 steal and tied strongman Will Philpot, as each grabbed 10 rebounds. This gave him a double-double.
Young was clutch all night as he swished 5-10 field goals and 7-8 free throws for 17 points. He added 2 assists and 2 steals. Slone was huge as well as he sank 5-9 from deep to finish with 15 points. He also led the way with 4 steals. Senior guard Ian Lee and sophomore guard Chandler Stewart each added 2 assists while Sturgill and sophomore center Idris Akinyemi both swatted 3 shots.
The Eagles connected on 45.9% (28-61) from the field and 35.3% (6-17) from long range. They hit 84% (21-25) from the foul line and added 43 rebounds, 9 assists, and 9 steals.
RGU (10-13; 3-6 RSC) was led by Gunner Short with 22 points. His club connected on 45.7% (32-70) from the field including 40% (8-20) from long range. They hit 41.7% (5-12) from the foul line and added 33 rebounds, 16 assists, and 7 steals.
ALC earns a well-deserved break before returning home on Thursday, January 30th for an important conference match-up with Carlow University (PA). Tipoff is at 7:30 pm.