Strong second half propels SMWC men to victory in RSC tourney

Feb. 28—Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will see its run in the River States Conference tournament continue into the semifinals after taking down No. 7 seed IU-Southeast on Wednesday evening by the score of 87-60 inside Hamilton Arena.

SMWC has now won 10 games in a row and 18 of its last 19. Shawnee State advanced with an 89-76 victory over Ohio Christian on Wednesday.

Entering Wednesday with a school-record 640 points scored, Cobie Barnes continued by posting 15 points with eight assists and six rebounds in the come-from-behind victory. Four other Pomeroys reached double-figure scoring — Chaz Birchfield with 14 points, Tarik Dixon and Shon Tupuola with 13 apiece and Greg Johnson with 10.

SMWC tallied 53.2 percent shooting in the contest and shared the ball well by posting 22 assists on 33 made baskets.

A thunderous dunk by Tupuola opened the second half scoring on the Pomeroys' opening possession to get SMWC within a point, then Barnes became the first player to reach double-figure scoring with a 3-pointer off the right wing as SMWC completely erased the deficit and gained a 35-33 advantage less than two minutes after the break. It became a 12-0 run for the Pomeroys when Jenkins went the length of the floor and laid the ball through the hoop to stretch the lead out to 39-33 with 17:30 remaining and forced IU-Southeast to burn a timeout.

Barnes made it a 14 in a row for the Pomeroys with a driving lay-up to stretch the cushion out to eight points. The 16-0 run continued with a Jenkins second-chance bucket to make it 43-33, but IU-Southeast scored on consecutive possessions around a Greg Johnson triple to cut into the SMWC lead at 46-38 with 15:33 left on the clock.

Dixon buried a 3-pointer with just over 12 minutes remaining off the Barnes' assist to run the Pomeroy advantage out to 51-42.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (24-5) will play host to Shawnee State (Ohio) in RSC tourney semifinals at 4 p.m. Saturday inside Hamilton Arena.