Men's basketball Nov. 5, 2014
One point decided the match between the Rangers and Saints.
By Jose Arredondo
Blood, sweat and tears were shed on the hardwood floor of Gym 1 in a physical game that had produced 13 lead changes, 9 ties and one dislocated finger.
This college’s Rangers held off the Saints of Our Lady of the Lake University to win 77-76 Nov. 5.
Biology sophomore Rey Esquevil led the Rangers with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Kinesiology sophomore Andrew Butler added 14 points and six rebounds for the Rangers. During the final minutes of play, 12 of those points were scored. Including the game-winning free-throw.
“I struggled in the first half and I felt like I let my teammates down,” Butler said. “But I made up for it in second half.”
Kinesiology freshman Josh Mendiola led the Saints with 26 points and 6 rebounds.
“We played a lot better as a team,” Mendiola said. “I happened to just get hot and my teammates were giving me some great passes.”
The Rangers jumped to an early 18-9 lead, the biggest lead by either team for the game.
In the first half, Rangers forward Chady Joukeh was the catalyst behind the Rangers 6-0 run. However, the Rangers momentum was derailed when Joukeh dislocated his finger hustling after the basketball.
The bone in his finger pierced through his skin and blood dripped on the sideline.
Rangers coach Lou Martinez confirmed Joukeh fractured his finger and has seen a hand specialist.
The Saints capitalized on the Rangers unexpected setback and at halftime they lead, 39-38.
During the second half, it was a shootout between both teams, the lead changed eight times in the final 5 minutes of play.
The Rangers seemed to pull away with the game when Butler sliced through the Saints defense to score and lift the Rangers lead, 76-69, with three minutes left in play.
However, Mendiola hit a deep 3-pointer to cut the Rangers lead 76-72. After the play, Mendiola taunted Rangers guard Ajax Reyes and suckered him into elbowing him in the stomach. The elbow forced the referees to hand Reyes a technical foul and ejected him from the game.
Mendiola was awarded two free throws and possession of the ball. He made one of his two free throws and the Rangers lead was 76-73.
The Saints inbounded the ball to Mendiola and he pulled up from 3 feet beyond the arc and tied the game 76-76 with 10 seconds left in play.
The Rangers called a timeout and the ball was in Butler’s hands. He penetrated the Saints defense and was fouled with 5 seconds left in the game. He missed the first free-throw but made the second that ended up being the game-winning free-throw.
The Rangers escaped with a 77-76 victory.
“It was an ugly win, but it is a learning experience,” Martinez said. “We are improving on our execution and we will continue to improve on it.”
The 2-2 Rangers seek to capture their third victory next week as they host Southwest Texas Junior College 8 p.m. Nov. 12 in Gym 1 of Candler.