The men’s basketball team fell to the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) 84-71 in its first regular-season game of the 2020-2021 campaign. On Saturday, the Saints played Rice University in an exhibition game and both competitions were part of the UIW Thanksgiving Invitational
This is the fourth matchup against UIW and the series is 1-4 with the Saints winning the previous game 99-97 in 2015.
The Saints led early in the first half 15-14 after buckets from Jordan Embry (SR/Paris, Texas), David Johnson (SR/McAllen, Texas) and Xavier Woodington (JR/Honolulu, Hawaii). The Cardinals took control shortly after and led for the rest of the game. OLLU cut the lead to only two points after Johnson hit a jumper with 7:45 left in the first half. UIW led 40-28 heading into the second half. Johnson scored 12 points and Darin Minniefield (SR/Houston, Texas) tallied two assists in the first frame. Both teams scored 18 points inside the paint.
UIW maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half, despite the Saints shooting 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. OLLU also shot 81 percent from the free-throw line in the second half. OLLU led in points off turnovers with 19, second chance points at 12 and fast break points with 21.
Johnson led the Saints with 18 points, followed by Ruben Monzon (JR/San Diego, Calif.) and Embry with 10 apiece. Monzon tallied a team-high six rebounds. Minniefield led the team with three assists.
Keaston Willis led the Cardinals with 18 points. Des Balentine grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Balentine, Willis, Marcus Larsson and Josh Morgan each had three assists.
Inside the box
OLLU combined for 28-of-68 shooting for 41.2 percent, 3-of-12 from three-point range for 25 percent and 12-of-15 from the free-throw line for 80 percent.
The Saints grabbed 25 rebounds while the Cardinals collected 40. OLLU forced 17 turnovers and committed nine.
The Saints will face the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Edinburg, Texas on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in an exhibition game.
Hear from Head Coach Chris Dial and watch highlights here: https://youtu.be/fDHXjCHsWI4