Crusaders suffer 1st Loss of Season after Late Surge falls Short

Russell tied a team-high 18 points with his personal-best on Sunday.
Russell tied a team-high 18 points with his personal-best on Sunday.

(Photo Courtesy of anthonymazur@amnewsnet.com)

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – It was a tightly contested game at Illinois College on Sunday afternoon, as the University of Dallas men's basketball team and Blueboys had 25 lead changes and nine ties throughout the duration. Dallas trailed as many as 11 with 3:12 minutes left, and did claw back within three points in the closing moments of regulation. However, the late surge at the end for UD came up short as the 90-87 setback was the first loss this season.

The Crusaders shot 55.1 percent and were three points shy of matching a season-high in scoring from the first game of the three-game road trip this Thanksgiving Week break. Illinois College (3-0) broke away about midway through the second half and led by as many as 11 points (88-77) with 2:37 left. The Crusaders scored 10 of the next 12 points making it a three-point game with 1:10 remaining, but could not close the gap any further.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Dallas started with a 6-0 lead with a pair of three-point plays. Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) was fouled while making a layup and hit the extra free throw. Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) followed with the next field goal counting for three in the right corner.

The Blueboys answered with the next eight points to take their first advantage of the afternoon.

John Russell (Bossier City, La.) halted the run with a layup and Levi came back with another inside basket to make it a four-point lead for UD (12-8). After Colvin sank his second trifecta early in the half, the Blueboys got one of their own to keep the margin the same.

UD connected on six field goals during the first 11 attempts through seven minutes.

Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) scored a layup to make it 17-11 at 12:43 to match the Crusaders largest lead of the game. IC responded with the next six to knot the contest. From that juncture both squads traded points throughout the half with neither up by more than three. Most of the half these teams were locked in a one-point game. After trailing a couple minutes, Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) nailed a trey to make it 26-25.

A pair of free throws by Max Stutsman helped Illinois College extend the lead to three at 5:43, which was the first time since 12:10 that either side was up by that margin.

The first stanza ended with Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) dropping a floater along the baseline on the right side to put his team up 40-39 with just above a minute. Two free throws by IC flipped the score before the Crusaders leading three-point shooter drilled one from deep with two seconds on the shot clock. That carried Dallas into the break up 43-41.

Illinois College stretched its largest lead of the game at the time to six (66-60) at 10:42 left in the contest. Stutsman had the jumper which followed a three by Brady Hays about 40 seconds prior to start the five-point scoring swing.

After a Dallas timeout, Solomon Berezin (League City, Texas) hit a jumper to break up the IC scoring streak. Eventually, the home team raised the advantage to as many as eight over the next two minutes. Wambsganss hit a trifecta at (7:48) to cut the margin to 72-67. With six minutes left, Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas) chipped into the gap a little more with consecutive inside shots to get the score at 76-73.

With five minutes in the game, the Blueboys got a jumper by Tim Parks that started a five-point swing without any minutes ticking away. Mason Speer made both free throws on a technical foul and Parks sank his and-one free throw to make it an 81-73 score.

The Crusaders trailed by double-digits with 3:12 left. A layup by Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas) at 2:27 sparked a 9-1 run over the next 1:17 minutes to make it a one possession game. The guests got a stop, but would turn the ball over at 39 seconds. With nine seconds before the horn, the Blueboys turned the ball over. Wambsganss was fouled with two ticks, and Dallas was in the Bonus. The freshman hit the first before missing the second to the right. IC's leading scorer, Stutsman, came up with the rebound and split at the line to seal the final result.

Russell tied a team-high 18 points with his highest total of his career. Giadolor matched that total with his season-best. Wambsganss was perfect from the field (4-4) and tossed in 13 points. Colvin added 12, and Levi missed consecutive days with double-doubles by being a point shy at nine. His 12 rebounds were a game-high. Dallas held a 56-32 advantage for points in the paint.

Stutsman poured 23 points to lead a quintet of IC scorers in double-digits. Sean McDonald (17), Hays (14), Parks (14), and Speer (10) also were part of this group. The Blueboys shot 46.3 percent from the floor and benefited from 20-of-23 shooting at the charity stripe. IC only turned the ball over five times.

TIP-INS

Levi missed double-digits in the scoring column for the first time this season. He tied a personal-high 12 rebounds. The remaining four starters each had five boards apiece to help the team lead 43-29 in that category.

Wambsganss maintained his scorching road trip performance with 50 points over the three-game stretch. This included 69.5 percent (16-23) from the field and 13-for-19 from distance.

One game after tying a career-most in assists (5), Calton dished seven for a new best. The senior combined with Levi for 11 of the team's 16 dimes.

SOCIAL MEDIA

UP NEXT

Dallas returns to the Maher Center for a five-game stretch through most of the remainder of 2017. The long homestand starts on November 30th versus University of the Ozarks. Tip-off is slated at 7:30 p.m. after the women's basketball game. The Crusaders have a quick turnaround with their second game in three days on December 2nd against Johnson & Wales University (CO).