RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Junior guard Callisha Johnson scored 30 points and hit 4-of-4 from the line in the final 45 seconds to lead the University of Pikeville to a critical 70-62 win over the University of Rio Grande Thursday night at Newt Oliver Arena.
The win kept the Bears alive in their quest to qualify for next week’s Mid-South Conference tournament in Frankfort. Bill Watson’s club is hoping for help in their effort to catch Lindsey Wilson for the eighth and final seed in the event.
The win improved the Bears to 11-17 overall, 6-12 in the Mid-South Conference.
A three-point basket by sophomore Christin Haney with 3:11 left put the Bears on top 63-58. The lead was 65-61 when Rio turned the ball over with 53 seconds to play. It was one of 17 Red Storm turnovers on the night.
Johnson sank two free throws with 44.6 seconds to play to push the lead to 67-61. After the Red Storm missed a three with 23.9 seconds left, Haney went 1-of-2 from the line with 16.2 seconds to play to make it a three-possession game.
Two more Johnson tosses with 7.6 seconds left set the final score.
The Bears had built a 33-27 lead at the half, hitting 40 percent overall despite going 0-of-9 from the arc. They had the lead thanks to 9-of-12 (75 percent) shooting from the free throw line. Rio Grande had turned the ball over 10 times but held a 22-19 rebounding advantage.
Johnson was one of two Bears in double figures in the win. Haney joined her with 12 points and four steals.
Sophomore Whitney Belle Jackson had nine. Freshman Peyton Wright led the Bears with eight rebounds while Jackson added six.
Rio Grande (6-22, 0-18) had four players in double figures, led by Noelani Woodson’s 18. She was 6-of-13 from the arc. Sarah Bonar followed with 11 and seven rebounds, while Tinesha Taylor tossed in 10 with eight boards.
Morgan Daniels added 10 points.
The Bears remain on the road on Saturday when they visit No. 14 Shawnee State for a 2 p.m. tip in Portsmouth, Ohio. Rio Grande will remain home to meet U.Va.-Wise on Saturday.