Levi scored 23 of his 33 points in a Huge 2nd Half; Crusaders edge Schreiner to End Slide

Levi scored 14 straight UD points in the 2nd Half to help hold off the Mountaineers on the road.
Levi scored 14 straight UD points in the 2nd Half to help hold off the Mountaineers on the road.

KERRVILLE, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team used a 47-point second half to awaken a dormant offense and defeated Schreiner University in a 71-68 final on Saturday. Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) was a huge part of the resurgence with 23 points in the last 20 minutes to contribute to a personal-best 33 points overall.

The Crusaders were held below 30 points at the break for consecutive days and trailed by seven, 31-24. The guests had led by as many as 12 through the first six minutes, but allowed the Mountaineers to score the last 16 points of the half over a 4:57-minute span. UD chipped away and went up as many as on several occasions down the stretch. Schreiner pulled within one twice in the last 1:13, but could not regain the edge.

This win snapped a season-long, three-game skid for the Crusaders who improved to 8-4 and 2-1 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play. Dallas has now defeated the top two teams in the conference coach's preseason poll. Schreiner dropped to 4-9 and 1-1 in the conference after splitting its opening weekend.

HOW IT HAPPENED

After being limited a season-low 57 points the night prior, Dallas raced out to a 15-3 advantage that included 11 unanswered. The Crusaders got a triple by Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) to spark the run. Levi, Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas), and Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas) all contributed to that early start.

Dallas held the margin at double-digits for most of the half as a layup by Levi made it 21-11 with 7:34 to go before intermission. Schreiner turned the tide by erupting with 20 out of the next 23 points and led at the half by seven. A Colvin layup at 5:46 was the last UD points that half.

Schreiner received a 17-2 edge benefit from its bench that half, while the Crusaders countered with a 16-2 edge for points in the paint.

Levi struck for a layup 13 seconds into the next half and followed moments later on a pair of free throws to nip the deficit to three. A couple treys by Schreiner's Ellis Jones and Keenan Gumbs pushed the gap wide again to as many as eight. Blake Kindred sank two free throws at 16:21 to mark the final time there was a double-digit lead on either side.

An old fashioned three-point play by Levi was followed up by a Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) trey to knot the game at 41 with 13 minutes left. The teams traded points and then Wambsganss keyed a few major plays with a free throw and then swiped a steal that led to him draining a three-pointer to make it 47-43.

Dallas never relinquished the lead when the freshman guard had split at the line with 11:13 remaining. Up four, the Crusaders were able to take advantage of a Schreiner turnover and Wambsganss contributed again this time finding Levi for an assist on the basket. Those points started Levi on a 14-point streak for UD from 9:01 to 1:30.

The home team did pull within a single possession several times and a three by Blake Kelley at 1:13 narrowed Dallas' lead to 67-66. Calton and Wambsganss split at the line on separate turns, but Schreiner missed a shot and then on its next possession nailed both free throws by Kelley with 17 to play. Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) – who went 4-for-4 at the charity stripe – put in a pair in the last 11 seconds to reflect what would be the final result. TJ Distefano had one last chance at the game-tying shot, but it missed off the iron.

STAT NOTABLES

Levi continued to build on his storyline season by eclipsing 30 points for the second time in the last three games. He matched a personal-most 12 made field goals and finished the weekend with a 75.3 field goal percentage overall. He continues to average a double-double as he led the Crusaders with 10 rebounds to give him his seventh on the campaign. Levi impressed on both sides of the ball with four blocked shots giving him four games with at least that many. That is the third time this season Levi has matched his second highest in a contest.

Colvin was the only other Crusader to record double figures with 13 points. He finished second on the squad in rebounds (7), while adding a pair of blocks and assists. After shooting 28.6 percent in the first, the Crusaders shot an impressive 63.6 percent (14-22) in the next half. They also were 17-for-22 (77.3%) at the free throw line.

Dallas edged its opponent 36-14 for points in the paint. Schreiner countered with a 14-4 edge in second chance points and 21-13 advantage in points off turnovers. The battle on the glass was close with SU holding a 44-43 edge.

Kelly led the Mountaineers with 21 points and 14 boards for the other double-double of the evening. Gumbs added 12 and Kindred chipped in 11 from the bench.

TIP-INS

Dallas won its first SCAC road game since the 2015-16 season. It broke an 11-game slide with the last victory against a league foe happening at Trinity University (Jan. 29th).

Saturday's triumph was the first win for the Crusaders in Kerrville since February 13th, 2015. In that game there was a second-half explosion of 53 points required by the Crusaders to erase a nine-point halftime deficit.

43 Rebounds matched a season-high for UD for the third occasion. Other two times were Millsaps College (Nov. 15th) and at Illinois College (Nov. 26th).

This is the fourth time this season that the Crusaders notched seven or more blocked shots.

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UP NEXT

Dallas wraps up a four-game road trip with a non-conference tilt on Wednesday at Southwestern Adventist University. First tip is at 7 p.m. following the women's game. Last year the Crusaders prevailed in Irving by a 103-60 decision. Two years ago on the Knights' home floor, Colvin drained a game-winning three to lift Dallas to a 76-74 final.