Slow Start for Crusaders in Season Opener at Hendrix

Crusaders match Hendrix's scoring in 2nd half, but unable to overcome 1st half deficit.
Crusaders match Hendrix's scoring in 2nd half, but unable to overcome 1st half deficit.

CONWAY, Ark. – The University of Dallas men's basketball team opened the 2018-19 season and a four-game road stretch with an 81-67 final on Thursday night. A first-half outburst that included a 23-9 scoring run for Hendrix College (1-1) would be too much for the Crusaders (0-1) to overcome.

A three-pointer by Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) brought a 7-2 deficit to a single possession with just under five minutes into the contest. Cameron Hyde (Missouri City, Texas) immediately scored in his collegiate debut with a layup and three-pointer to make it a 12-10 with 11:55 to go in the opening stanza.

Dallas struggled shooting most of the frame with a 25.9 percent effort from the field. Those pair of trifectas were the early makes in the half as well, as UD finished 2-of-8 during the first 20 minutes.

The Warriors rattled off seven straight points to boast their first double-digit advantage of the game. The home team kept the hot scoring up, as Seth Stanley nailed back-to-back triples to cap a massive run that made it a 36-19 edge with three and a half before the break.

Dallas' Scott Bolen (Houston, Texas) completed an old fashioned three-point play for his lone points of the game that made it 36-22, which would be the halftime score. His free throw at 2:23 was the final points by either side of the half.

Hendrix eventually doubled the halftime advantage to its largest lead of the game (28) with less than half of the second played. A trey by Sean Coman marked the lengthy margin.

The road squad responded with its strongest run of the night, with 14 of the next 19 points counting for Dallas to shrink the gap to 17 over four minutes. Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) made all six of his points during that stretch at the free throw line. Hyde also had a pair of free throws and a layup for four points. Rashid Coombs (Houston, Texas) and Letrell Toussaint (Waco, Texas) chipped in layups during the surge.

Hendrix answered with five points on two free throws and a trey from Trey Rouse.

Mathis countered the next possession with a three-pointer. The sophomore guard followed by snatching a steal and driving for a fastbreak layup. Mathis was fouled and added a free throw on the and-one. The Warriors had three straight turnovers that UD took advantage of to nip the deficit to 11 (73-62) with just beneath five minutes in regulation. Hyde had a layup to make it a 13-point gap, and then two made baskets at the charity stripe by Nunn reduced the score to the closest margin since middle of the first.

Hendrix committed its fourth consecutive turnover, but the Crusaders could not get the deficit into single-digits as an offensive foul gave the ball and momentum back to the home squad. Stanley sank two free throws and then a layup by Trace Crawford stretched the game to 15 and beyond reach with 2:25 left.

Nunn matched a game-high 19 points with a 12-for-15 effort in free throws. Dallas went 21-for-28 at the stripe. Hyde debuted his collegiate career with a double-digit performance of 11 points. Mathis rounded out the double-digit scoring trio by also tallying 11, a personal-high. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) contributed six points and rebounds.

Dallas shot 56 percent (14-25) from the field in the second half. Both teams scored 45 in the last frame, but a 14-point difference in the earlier half proved to be the difference. The Crusaders were edged on the glass 39-34 and committed two more turnovers 16-14. Both teams swiped five steals.

A quartet of Warriors totaled double figures in the scoring column led by Stanley with 19. Kam Brasfield (13), Carl Fitch (12), and Coman (10) were also part of the scoring unit that helped Hendrix shoot 29-of-64 (45.3%) from the field and 10-for-30 from downtown. The Warriors also went 13-for-15 at the free throw line.

The season-opening setback was only the second one in the past six years. The other was also in Conway to the Warriors in 2015-16. Between those two matchups, Dallas had won five straight head-to-head meetings, including two on the road.

These teams will meet again on December 2 in the Maher Center.

UP NEXT

Dallas continues its long start on the road with three games next week. The trio of contests is kicked off on Tuesday, November 20, at University of the Ozarks. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.