MacMurray pulls Away in Last Moments of Tight Game Against Men's Basketball

Wambsganss surpassed 20 points on consecutive days, but Crusaders edged in closing minutes of a back-and-forth game.
Wambsganss surpassed 20 points on consecutive days, but Crusaders edged in closing minutes of a back-and-forth game.

IRVING, Texas – It was a hard fought game at the Maher Center on Wednesday night, as the University of Dallas men's basketball team and MacMurray College had 20 ties and 12 lead changes overall. It was the visiting Highlanders that made an 8-0 run in under three minutes of the second half to go up as many as nine, and held Dallas to an 88-82 setback.

Both sides shot north of 50 percent, with MacMurray led by Brent Long's 32 points. Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) delivered consecutive big nights with a 21-point performance. His late three with 14 seconds cut the margin to 86-82, but the Highlanders answered with a pair of free throws and forced a turnover to seal the final.

The Crusaders ended a season-high, four-game winning streak and suffered their first setback at home this year. It also concluded the homestand at 4-1. MacMurray won its second straight to improve to 3-5.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The first five points of the game went to MacMurray before Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas) put in a layup two minutes in to get on the board. Home answered with six in a row as Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) and Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) dropped in layups to give Dallas its first lead over five minutes in.

A three by Wade Fox stretched the momentum back to the Highlanders by making it 10-6 two minutes later. Down five, the Crusaders flipped the lead as two freshmen, Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) and Wambsganss nailed back-to-back treys to make it 20-19 with 8:42 in the first. A trifecta from Kendall Davis was met by another Wambsganss triple seconds later.

Wambsganss, who led the Crusaders with 32, hit five three-pointers in the game consecutive days.

At 7:18 left in the frame, Colvin's field goal put Dallas up by its widest margin at that point (26-22). It appeared the Highlanders gained some momentum in the final minute when Marshall Corbin drilled a three and Davis responded on a UD miss with a layup. The Crusaders had the final look of the half, and a nice save by Colvin in the corner got passed to Wambsganss to bury his third three-pointer and nip the deficit to 42-40.

Giadolor quickly knotted the game again with a jumper 24 seconds into the next stanza. His layup four minutes later gave the Crusaders a five-point edge – UD's largest lead of the game. MacMurray countered with the next seven unanswered capped by Davis for the go-ahead trey. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) and Levi were responsible for the next four points that made it 53-52 in favor of the Crusaders.

Later, a Nunn free throw that capped a rare four-point play after he was fouled on swishing a three from the left corner. Levi put the Crusaders on top a final time that game with his fastbreak dunk.

The last seven and a half minutes saw the advantage go to the guests. Seven of the next eight points turned the scoreboard to favor the Highlanders. However, turnovers on their next two possessions helped UD cut the gap to one after layups by Levi and Giadolor. The top two scorers for each side exchanged baskets with three and a half remaining, but MacMurray stormed out to an 84-75 lead in the closing moments. A fastbreak layup by Davis that started after a block on the other end put the final touches on an 8-0 run with 46 ticks on the clock.

Quick scores by Colvin and then Russell after a forced turnover by the Crusaders defense made it a five-point deficit with 25 seconds. A three by Wambsganss 11 seconds later answered the pair of MacMurray's free throws to reduce the margin to four. The Highlanders performed well at the line going 15-for-20 and hit the last four attempts in the late stages that stymied the Dallas comeback.

Dallas shot 31-of-59 (52.5%) from the floor and 53.8 (7-13) percent from downtown. The opponents were 56.1 (32-57) percent in field goals, and also drained seven from deep. MacMurray outrebounded the Crusaders 35-26 and held a 27-23 edge in assists. Points in the paint were nearly even with Dallas edging by two (44-42).

Wambsganss led a quartet of Crusaders in double-digits for points. Colvin contributed 17 and dished a career-high nine assists. Levi and Giadolor had 13 and 11 points, respectively. Levi led the team with six boards, while Russell and Wambsganss each grabbed five.

Long registered a double-double with 10 rebounds to go with his game-high scoring. He shot 11-for-21 from the field and was 10-of-12 at the charity stripe. Davis tossed in 22 points, while Michael Cameron posted nine points to go with eight dimes.

TIP-INS

This setback ends a 25-game winning streak at home versus non-conference opponents dating back to the 2011-12 campaign.

Dallas' 53.8 percent three-point field goal shooting is the highest on the year.

The Crusaders passed 23 assists for the second highest on the season. It was one shy of the opening game on this home stretch, November 30th, versus University of the Ozarks.

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Dallas enjoys the holiday break before taking off on a four-game road trip. UD embarks on this away stretch on New Year's Eve at Rhodes College for a 2 p.m. tip.