KEENE, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team was outscored by 11 in the second half, as Southwestern Adventist University overcame a slow start to win 59-56 on Wednesday night in a road non-conference game.
Dallas dropped the first 15 points of the contest and led by as many as 16 throughout the opening frame, but the Knights used a 14-3 scoring swing to enter the break down by eight. After the Crusaders surrendered the lead early in the second, they inched the score back to as close as a pair of points in the closing minutes. However, two game-tying attempts at a three in the last possession for UD missed the mark.
Dallas has dropped four-of-five games and sit 8-5 on the season. The Knights moved to 5-14 overall.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Crusaders stormed out to a double-digit advantage in the first five minutes of action. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) netted three of the road team's first four field goals, while Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) chimed in with the other three points at the time to make it 9-0. Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) and Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) drained back-to-back three-pointers to cap the 15-point streak at 13:26 to start.
UD coupled that early scoring with getting Southwestern Adventist in early foul trouble with six in the first five minutes.
It was a weathered storm for the home squad, as a 32-16 Dallas edge in the last 4:18 minutes of the first stanza got clipped to 10 over the next two minutes. Colvin sank his third three-pointer of the half for the Crusaders only points in that span that saw them lead 35-27 heading to intermission.
The Knights immediately kept the momentum up from the outset of the next frame with the first five points. Colvin countered with UD's lone trifecta that half to stretch his team's lead to its widest margin (38-32) the remainder. SWAU answered on a 9-0 run to go on top and never relinquished the lead.
Dallas chipped a nine-point (51-42) deficit with 8:46 to go to as few as three over the next four minutes. Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas) – who rattled six of the team's final seven points in the game – quickly took a rebound down for a fastbreak layup to make it 53-50. After Levi split at the free throw line to make it a two-point deficit, the Knights answered on a Travis Gagau jumper.
Gagau finished with a game-high 29 points, and his 19 in the second half were instrumental to the Knights successful offense.
Calton again provided late-minute energy by hitting a layup to make it 55-53. He was fouled on the made basket but missed the free throw that followed. Gagau was able to earn an old fashioned three-point play of his own on the other side and made his free throw to put the lead back to five with 49 ticks on the clock. Levi made the back-end of two at the line. Needing a steal, Calton succeeded with 15 seconds left, as he poked the ball to Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) who found the senior hustling for the quick basket to make it 58-56.
The Knights got the first-of-two free throws from Mareko Tamaleaa, but his second miss left Dallas a chance to knot the board in the last 13 seconds. Wambsganss missed an initial look from the corner, and Colvin rose for an offensive rebound and got fouled. The Knights did have a two fouls to give at the moment, so UD only had a second for a final attempt and that effort missed the mark.
Colvin led the team with his first double-double of the season by notching 12 points and 10 rebounds. All his points were generated from three-point distance, as his quartet of made shots marked a career-most. Levi and Wambsganss each had nine points, while Nunn and Calton added eight apiece. Levi garnered eight boards.
The Crusaders finished with a season-low in scoring, and also made a season-low in field goals (18-51) for a 35.3 percent clip. Dallas did make six three-pointers in the opening half, but finished with seven overall. The road team also shot 13-of-22 (59.1%) in free throws.
Dallas was edged 32-20 on points in the paint, but did counter with a 42-37 advantage on the glass. The Crusaders committed 19 turnovers compared to 11 by SWAU. Despite the points off turnovers only favoring the Crusaders by one (9-8), they led 7-0 in that category at the break. The Knights teethered the mark in the final 20 minutes with an 8-2 edge. The team's combined for nine blocks in the game.
Gagau did most of the scoring for the Knights with an 11-for-24 shooting night, while Sitivi Fehoko added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Dallas' seven made three-pointers tie the second highest total in a game and were two away from the team-best this season.
42 team rebounds marks the fifth time that 40 has been eclipsed this year and is the second most by UD.
Levi has now come up with four blocks in three of the last four contests. He has achieved four blocks in just as many games this season, and has surpassed that number in five with the lone higher one being his record-setting result of nine versus Johnson & Wales University (CO) on December 2nd.
Dallas resumes Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play this Friday with Centenary College. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.