SHERMAN, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team bounced back from Friday's setback and avenged an earlier loss this season to Austin College with a 99-80 final. The Crusaders offense shot 50 percent (28-56), 66.7 percent (6-9) from three, and tied a single-game record 37 made free throws, which included a 29-for-35 in the second half.
Dallas shot 56.3 percent in the opening stanza to build a 47-42 lead at the break. The visitors withstood an early run by the 'Roos at the start of the next half, but were able to surge back with a 36-13 stretch over a 10-minute span. Two St. Louis, Missouri, natives Spencer Levi and Joshua Nunn made 10 free throws that half to boast their leading point totals respectively at 15 and 14 in the second.
The victory caps a successful 4-1 road trip for the Crusaders, which included 3-1 the past two weekends in play against Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) opponents. Dallas now sits 6-5 in the conference and 13-9 overall. Austin College dropped to 4-18 on the season and 2-9 in the SCAC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Unlike the earlier matchup this season in Irving, the Crusaders kept up in the beginning minutes and took a slight edge. A fastbreak dunk by Levi made it 20-14 through the first eight and half minutes of action. The Crusaders held a 10-0 lead on fastbreak points that frame.
UD was able to increase the lead to 10 on a couple of occasions. The first was when Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas) converted on a three-point play with under eight to play. Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) had the other instance with five minutes before intermission on another layup on the breakaway.
The 'Roos hung around thanks to 50 percent shooting from downtown, as they made seven in the first half. Michael Holland had a triple with 2:03 to make it a 40-36 game, and then Kam Hogan dialed his lone attempt from deep in the closing seconds to make it a three-point deficit.
However, Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) for Dallas got an offensive rebound and made the layup as time expired to give Dallas a five-point edge.
Austin College netted the first nine points in the next half to go up 51-47. It took over three minutes for the Crusaders to end the streak, but they were able to on a pair of free throws from Calton.
Dallas made its home at the charity stripe thanks to 23 fouls whistled on the home team. Trailing by five with over five minutes gone by, Nunn tallied three-of-four free throws and made a jumper to get the guests within a pair (58-56). Following a miss by the 'Roos, Levi counted a basket while getting fouled. He sank the old fashioned three-point play to put UD on top the remainder of the 12:43 minutes.
Nunn's jumper started an 11-0 run for the Crusaders. After Levi's three-point play, Colvin connected on a jumper inside the paint, and then the team's top two free throw shooters each went 2-for-2 on different turns at the line in that span. This outburst put the Crusaders in front 65-58, and signaled a bigger scoring span that eventually displayed UD up by 23 (94-71) for its largest margin of the game.
Within this run was the team's final made field goal, a trifecta by Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) with 5:05 to play. He also netted the team's record-tying free throw and capped Dallas' final 10-point string in the game all at the line.
A trio of freshmen did the top scoring damage led by Levi with a game-high 23 points. The forward was 6-for-8 from the field and 11-for-13 at the free throw line, which matched his second highest total and was one shy of a personal-best. Nunn eclipsed free throw double-digits for the second time on the trip, and increased his career-high point total a week ago by five to 20. Wambsganss rounded out the unit with 17 points and compiled 57 points in three contests this week.
Levi grabbed 13 rebounds to secure his 15th double-double (10th in conference). The forward also added team-highs in assists (5) and blocks (3). His season-record total for blocks is now at 60, and the team's is at 96.
Calton and Colvin each had 12 points, while Colvin etched a double-double with 10 rebounds. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) hauled down seven boards to help the team edge AC 48-35. Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio) and Norton combined for the other 11 bench points with six and five.
Austin College was outscored 40-32 by points in the paint, while second chance points were even at 12. AC shot 38.2 percent overall and finished with 11 made treys. Justice Mercadel had a team-high 21 points, while Holland and Hogan followed with 18 and 17, respectively. Holland nearly earned a double-double with nine boards. Zach Nickens notched six of the team's 10 blocks.
The free throw record ties the mark also against Austin College from two seasons ago (Jan. 2, 2016) at the Maher Center.
Dallas defeated the 'Roos in Hughey Gym for the first time since Feb. 18th, 2013, and snaps a five-game slide in that venue.
UD's rebounding total was a season-high and the ninth time to be 40 or more.
Final | #UDCrusaders WIN! Men's Basketball matched a team record 37 free throws! Levi and Nunn contributed 21 of them en route to their team-leading totals! | @UDallasMBB #GoUD #UDMBB #SCACmbb #d3h pic.twitter.com/J8K3RAhjyx— UDallas Athletics (@UDallasSports) February 4, 2018
Dallas returns to the Maher Center for its final two games there this season. On February 9th, the Crusaders host Trinity University at 5:30 p.m. On Feb. 11th, they have their Senior Day game against Schreiner University with a 12 p.m. tip scheduled.