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Calming the Rio RedStorm

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — There wasn’t anything lopsided about the effort.

The Marshall Thundering Herd might have got a lopsided 115-73 win Tuesday over the NAIA Rio Grande RedStorm, but it didn’t come without a fight.

Sparked by former Chesapeake All-Ohio guard P.J. Rase who finished with 18 points, the RedStorm cut into an early 22-8 deficit and got within 26-22 with 9:58 left in the first half after a 13-4 run of their own.

Rase had a 3-pointer and Doug Campbell another pair of treys that had Rio down 38-33.

Rio Grande (5-19) trailed 54-39 at the half, but Marshall opened the second half with a 17-2 run and led 67-41 with 17:13 on the clock.

“We played much better at the start of the second half,” said Herd coach Donnie Jones.

“Rio Grande came out and played really well at the beginning of the game and we knew that they would. They played with intensity and at a different level than we did to start the game off.”

Marshall (17-7) placed seven players in double figures led by Dago Pena with 18 points. Tirrell Baines had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Chris Lutz scored 1`6, and Hassan Whiteside had 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

Also in double figures were Antonio Haymon with 13, Damier Pitts with 11 and Shaquille Johnson added 10.

“We decided to rest Tyler Wilkerson tonight and Antonio Haymon did a great job starting tonight. There was a lot of effort off the bench tonight,” said Jones.

“In those first 10 minutes of the second half we took it to a different level. We were playing at the level we need to play at. I thought our guys did a great job sharing the basketball. They had 28 assists tonight.”

The Thundering Herd was 44-of-73 from the field for 60 percent and 9-of-18 from behind the 3-point arc.

Rase was joined in double figures by Campbell with 14 — 11 in the second half — Brad Cubbie with 11 and Bud Teer had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Rio Grande was just 7-of-9 from the line. Rase — who was 2-for-2 at the foul line — is now 84-of-88 on the season and continues to lead the nation in free throw percentage.

The game was a regular season contest for Marshall, but it was scheduled as an exhibition for Rio Grande.