IRVING, Texas - The University of Dallas men's basketball team increased its winning streak to five games after an 83-78 victory over non-conference foe Arlington Baptist University on Tuesday night at the Maher Center. The Crusaders (6-8) erupted with the first 18 points and led by as many as 22 in the first half. However, Arlington Baptist charged back to make it a single-digit deficit at intermission and then a one-point game (79-78) in the final 25 seconds.
Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) and Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) were able to each knock down a pair of free throws and along with Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) carried the Crusaders at 12-for-14 at the charity stripe. The Patriots (5-12) were 8-for-17 at the stripe and were denied the comeback win after a 45-point second half and huge 25-point, 20-rebound performance by Kennedy Jones.
A three-pointer by Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio) on the first possession sparked a string of 18 points in a row for the Crusaders. All five starters for UD found the scoring column during the outburst that took 5:10 minutes into action to achieve. A jumper by ABU's Jones ended the scoring drought five and a half minutes into the stanza.
A trey by Wambsganss was on the back-end of a five-point stretch to increase the scoring differential to 23-2. Dallas shot a blistering 53.1 percent from the field in the opening frame, which was helped by seven made trifectas.
The team connected on 11 in the game from downtown to mark the fourth time this season UD has eclipsed double figures and third time during this current winning streak. Wambsganss garnered four, while Mathis knocked down three. Nunn's lone triple of the matchup would be the points to give Dallas its largest lead of the game (28-6) with 11:24 remaining.
Arlington Baptist used a 12-4 advantage on the fastbreak points that half, which included six during a 15-0 run from 5:28 to 2:31 that sliced the score to 35-31.
A Fruhwirth layup gave his team-leading 10 points at the break ended the cold spell for Dallas. After an opposition basket, Mathis drained a three and Wambsganss added a field goal inside to send UD ahead 42-33 at halftime. The 42 points were a season-high through the first half for the home team.
Dallas stretched the lead back into double-digits through most of the first portion of the second half. An offensive rebound and putback by Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) placed the Crusaders up 16 (66-50) with a little prior to the midway point, but that was as wide as the margin stayed the rest of the way.
A trey by Jordan Williams at 2:42 produced a tight contest with the margin down to six, which was the closest at the time in that half. After Dallas split at the line, the Patriots rallied with the next six points that made it a one-point margin and less than 30 ticks left on the game time. Pressure forced a Dallas timeout, but its top-notch free throw shooters were able to draw the fouls out of the break and hit when the moment counted. Mathis nailed his two, and Williams missed a chance to tie on a three. Nunn secured the rebound and was fouled and sent to the line to ice the game.
Wambsganss notched a team-high 22 points with 7-of-11 field goal shooting. He added five rebounds and a personal-best six assists. His previous best was five on Nov. 30 versus University of the Ozarks in 2017. Mathis chipped in his second-highest scoring game of his career and this season with 18. Nunn contributed 16 points. Fruhwirth finished with all 10 of his points in the first 20 minutes but extended his double-digit scoring streak to seven games.
Nunn, Wambsganss, and Jai Love (St. Louis, Mo.) distributed five, four, and three assists respectively, to give Dallas a season-best 22. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) recorded three of the team's four blocks.
Dallas was outrebounded 43-40 and 17-7 on the offensive glass. The Patriots held advantage on points in the paint (48-38), points on turnovers (23-11), and fastbreak points (20-8).
The Patriots shot 42.9 percent from the field and hit just four treys out of 16 attempts. Besides Jones leading all scorers, the Patriots received 18 off the bench from Tra Mallard. Williams added 10 and led the team with nine dimes.
Dallas has now defeated Arlington Baptist 10 times in the all-time series with no blemishes in the home matchups.
#UDCrusaders WIN!— UDallas Athletics (@UDallasSports) January 16, 2019
-Wambsganss (22 points, 7-11 FG, 6 assists)
-Mathis (18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists)
-Nunn (16 points, 5 assists)
-Fruhwirth (10 points)
-Dallas (12-14 FT, season-high 22 assists)#WeAreUD #d3hoops pic.twitter.com/EE69sWPs9D
Dallas picks up conference play over the remainder of January with two road games at the two teams ahead of the third-place Crusaders. On Friday, Dallas is at Texas Lutheran University for a 7:30 p.m. tip. The next day, UD rematches Southwestern University at 6 p.m.