IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team dropped a 73-62 final to Texas Lutheran University on Friday night at the Maher Center. Despite outshooting the Bulldogs (15-7, 10-3 SCAC) 58.3 percent (14-24) to 34.8 percent (8-23) in the second half from the field; TLU kept its grip on first place in the conference thanks to making 17-of-28 free throws in that frame.
The Crusaders (9-13, 6-7 SCAC) dropped their second game this week and have lost their last three SCAC matchups at the Maher Center.
It was a rough start for the home team, as TLU made five shots in a row to build a 13-4 advantage in the early minutes. That lead quickly reached double-digits and the Crusaders were fighting to get back into the game.
Down 24-8 towards the midway juncture of the opening stanza, Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) and Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) netted five straight points that included an old fashioned three-point play for the latter. Jai Love (St. Louis, Mo.) nailed a triple with five and a half to go and Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) followed with a layup to cut the margin to 28-20 after a TLU miss.
The Bulldogs scored 11 of the final 15 points, including the last five and held UD scoreless the last 3:07 minutes before halftime. This resulted in a 39-24 total benefiting Texas Lutheran.
The guest pushed the largest lead of the game to 17 in the first moments of the second half, but Dallas clawed back from 18:21 to 15:26 on 11 unanswered that included treys from Mathis and Wambsganss. Rashid Coombs (Houston, Texas) put in a layup assisted from Nunn to cap the surge.
Nunn answered a pair of TLU free throws with a jumper of his own to keep it a six-point deficit with 14:45, but that was the last field goal for the Crusaders for six minutes. During that stretch, UD netted three free throws, but the Bulldogs scored three extra points to extend the lead back to nine. It was back-and-forth with neither team pushing a run until after Love split at the free throw line with 6:42 left.
The Bulldogs came out of Dallas timeout ready to finish strong as Harris Jowell sent a three-pointer to build a double-digit edge. He added a layup and the closest UD came the remainder of the contest was nine. Nunn scored a layup to shrink the score to 67-58, but with barely a minute to go it was not enough. The Bulldogs had missed a couple free throw attempts to keep the score still, but Alex Cage made four in a row to increase the gap to 12 and give the SCAC leaders their season series sweep over Dallas.
Dallas improved from its 37 percent first half woes to reach 47.1 percent, which was better than the Bulldogs 46 percent display. Both teams had 17 attempts from three, with the road team hitting one more with five. TLU went 22-for-33 (66.7%) at the charity stripe, which those 12 extra points proved to be the difference. The Crusaders went 10-for-17.
The Crusaders snapped its five-game streak of 40 or more rebounds with TLU edging them 34-28. Dallas did have five individuals pick up a steal apiece in Nunn, Wambsganss, Mathis, Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio), and Cameran Hyde (Missouri City, Texas).
A quartet of starters reached double figures in points for UD led by Wambsganss and Mathis with 13 apiece. Mathis tossed in 11 of his in the second half. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) tossed in 12 points, while Nunn completed the group with 10. Eight of his were in the second frame. Love contributed eight points from the bench. Wambsganss was also the team leader for rebounds (7) and assists (4).
Texas Lutheran was led by Sebastian Andrade and Jowell with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Jackson Willoughby finished out the trio of double-digit scorers with 11 and hauled down a game-high eight boards. Nathan Josephs matched Jacob Kouremetis with nine points and dished six assists.
This is also the first setback for Dallas this season when it has shot higher than 45 percent. UD was 9-0 prior in such games.
Dallas hosts Schreiner University on Saturday for the final home game of 2018-19. Prior to the scheduled 6 p.m. first tip, Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) and Fruhwirth will be recognized for Senior Day.