This college defeated the University of the Incarnate Word for the first time this season.
By Jose Arredondo
Since their last meeting Oct. 29 at the University of the Incarnate Word, the Rangers have wanted to avenge their 104-98 loss to the Cardinals.
They got their chance Nov. 19 at home.
“Last time we didn’t execute down the stretch against these guys,” Coach Lou Martinez said before the game in Candler Physical Education Center. “Tonight we get a shot at redemption, and we are prepared to play in a tough game against a great UIW team.”
Kinesiology sophomore Andrew Butler led the Rangers with 28 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
“Last time we played UIW, we didn’t execute against them,” Butler said. “This game we made sure we did.”
Sophomore guard Dante Melton led the Cardinals with 23 points and six rebounds.
“Tonight I was feeling it,” Melton said. “I was taking high percentage shots and they were falling.”
In the first half there were five lead changes and three ties.
The Rangers rebounded the ball well with 35 boards, and the Cardinals grabbed 27 of their own.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the first half. However, the lead changed five times and the score was tied three times.
The Cardinals had the edge at halftime when they led 37-36.
The Rangers controlled the tempo of the second half as well as the lead.
“We had to slow the game down,” Martinez said. “We were shorthanded, so we had to pick and choose when to push the ball.”
With two minutes remaining in regulation, the Rangers maintained a comfortable 75-68 lead.
The Cardinals scored six straight points, cutting the Rangers’ lead 75-74.
The Rangers ended the Cardinals’ run by scoring 4 straight points, lifting their lead, 79-74.
Melton kept the Cardinals alive when he connected for a 3-point shot with 23.8 seconds left in the game. The Cardinals then trailed 80-77.
Fire science freshman Ajax Reyes was fouled and awarded two free throws with less than six seconds left. He made the first and missed the second.
Melton pushed the ball down the court, maneuvered around defenders and forced a tough fade-away in the corner. He missed the jumper and the Rangers survived.
The Rangers 3-3 record this season exceeds the number of games won last season.
The Rangers look to secure a fourth victory against Our Lady of The Lake University 8 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Mabee Gymnasium.