Next game will be at home against Northwest Vista College Oct. 26.
By Alejandro Diaz
In a scoring frenzy that saw both teams exchange the lead throughout the game, the University of Incarnate Word’s Cardinals held on for the win beating the Rangers 91-86 Oct. 21 in the Wellness Center at UIW.
The Rangers put forth a valiant effort by overcoming a 12-point deficit and tied the at 83 with 2:50 remaining in the second half.
The Cardinals reacted and scored 5 unanswered points until nursing sophomore DeMarcus Berry drained a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left that gave the Rangers hope.
The Rangers couldn’t get the much needed steal in the next play, and the Cardinals put the game away at the free-throw line, setting the final score at 91-86.
For the Rangers and coach Louis Martinez, it was a tough loss to swallow because they believed they let the game slip away from their grasp.
“It came down to late game situations,” Martinez said. “We had some mental errors, missed free throws and it just didn’t go our way.”
It was a fast paced game that provided offensive action on both ends of the floor as each team led by at least 8 points only to see the lead fade as they exchanged the momentum.
The Cardinals started the game on a mission and led by 10 points with 15 minutes remaining inthe first half.
The Rangers regrouped and powered their way back into the game as they cut the lead to 1 on a layup by business management sophomore Chady Joukeh
with 8:50 left.
When it seemed the Rangers were going to continue their comeback, the Cardinals fought back and pushed their lead back to 10 when guard Dante Melton scored a 3-pointer with 5:48 remaining in the first half, forcing Martinez to call for a timeout.
The timeout worked for the Rangers as they erased the 10-point deficit once again and took a 2-point lead after a steal by Berry that he turned into points with 1:55 remaining.
Sparked by Berry’s play, the Rangers held on to that lead, and at the half the score was 47-45 for the visitors.
The momentum continued for the Rangers at the start of the second half as they raced to an 8-point lead.
The Cardinals responded with an 8-0 run of their own, tying the game at 55, snatching the momentum from the Rangers.
After trading baskets in the following possessions, shooting guard Jackson Becker made a 3-pointer that gave the Cardinals the lead for good with 13:30 left in the game.
With 8:03 remaining, the Cardinals stretched the lead back to 10, capped by a 4-point play completed by Becker.
Despite the Cardinals pushing their lead to 12 points, the largest of the night, the Rangers refused to give up and clawed their way back into the game.
The Rangers’ comeback was highlighted by radiation therapy freshman Samtrell Smith’s display of energy. With 3:38 remaining, Smith stole the ball on his side of the floor and led a fast break he finished by converting a layup while getting fouled, earning a trip to the free-throw line.
Smith completed the 3-point play, and the Rangers cut the lead to 1.
The Rangers capped their 14-2 run that tied the game at 83 after split free throws by Smith with 2:50 remaining. Smith finished the game with 11 points, all in the second half.
The Cardinals regained control of the game, as the Rangers didn’t score again until the 3-pointer by Berry with 13 seconds left.
Joukeh led the scoring for the Rangers with 23 points, as he shot 100 percent from the field and the free throw line.
For the Rangers, defense and rebounding are going to be things to work on for their next games, Martinez said.
“It’s going to be the same thing because we are undersized,” Martinez said. “We’ve got to work, we’ve got to outwork the other team that we are playing. UIW outworked us today on the board.”
The Rangers will continue looking for their first win when they face Northwest Vista College at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Candler Physical Education Center.