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Men's Basketball leads at halftime, but Luther College (IA) prevails over Crusaders, 63-59; Stephens sinks game-high 18-points for Dallas
IRVING, Texas - The University of Dallas men's basketball team (2-9, 0-3 SCAC) was clipped by Luther College (Iowa), 63-59, early Thursday evening at the Maher Athletic Center amid a second-half surge by the Norse.
Luther (8-2) opened the game rather successfully, initially jumping out to a 4-0 lead before staking claim on a 13-5 advantage at the 12:12-mark of the first half.
Occuring four times in totality, the latter eight-point lead for Luther was their largest of the game in this tightly-contested affair.
Nonetheless, Dallas forged on in the first half, going on a 12-0 run which gave the Crusaders their first lead of the game with three-minutes remaining in the half.
During this span, 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Joe Stephens (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound H.S.) and 6-foot-6 freshman forward Alex Winebarger (Greenville, S.C./St. Joseph's Catholic School) did Dallas' heavy lifting, accounting for a combined nine points.
Stephens scored seven of his game-high 18-points in the first half. He finished the game 5-of-11 from the field, while netting 8-of-12 from the free-throw line. Stephens also grabbed seven rebounds (one offensive) and recorded a steal in 32-minutes of play.
Meanwhile, all of Winebarger's seven-points came in the opening half. He was a pefect 3-of-3 from the field, including a 1-of-1 night from 3-point range. Winebarger hauled in six rebounds (two offensive) and tabulated an assist in 26-minutes of game action.
5-foot-10 freshman guard Kym Malone (Richardson, Texas/Richardson Berkner H.S.) put home a layup to give the Crusaders a three-point advantage entering the break.
Malone and fellow teammate 6-foot-5 forward Tanner Bruffey (Lubbock, Texas/Home School) each poured in 13-points for Dallas.
Malone went 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point land, while netting 3-of-6 from the charity stripe. He accounted for five rebounds, four assists and a steal in 31 minutes. Bruffey experienced some shooting woes, going 4-of-12 from the field, including 1-of-5 from distance. He however did sink 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
At halftime, Dallas claimed a 30-27 lead over the Norse, shooting 47.8-percent (11-of-23) in the first-half to counter Luther's mark of 40-percent (12-of-30) from the field.
5-foot-9 sophomore guard Braeton Hightower (Owasso, Okla./Owasso H.S.) gave Dallas a six-point lead -- their largest of the game -- with a made 3-pointer at 18:14 of the second half.
Hightower's final stat-line saw him amass six-points on 2-of-3 shooting from the field, including a flawless 2-of-2 from distance. He also totalled two rebounds and an assist in 14-minutes on the court.
The two teams then seemingly traded baskets for the remainder of the half, with neither able to pull away in a game seeing 10 different lead changes.
Dallas had their chances down the stretch, despite Wyatt fouling-out with 3:49 remaining in regulation.
After a Tyler Wedemeier layup put Luther up 60-58 with 44-seconds left, Bruffey missed the game-tying layup which forced Dallas to resort to fouling.
The Norse's John Androus was nails in clutch time, however, sinking a pair of free throws to put Luther up by four points, their winning margin.
Luther shot 52-percent (13-of-25) in the second half en route to a 63-59 triumph, while holding Dallas to 34.8-percent (8-of-23) from the field.
Dallas returns to the hardwood on Monday, Jan. 2, in a 5:30 p.m. game versus Schreiner University at the Maher Athletic Center.