Crusaders hang on to Win Over Centenary in Men's Basketball on Friday

Crusaders go up for good at end of 1st half after seesaw game to start first homestand of 2018.
Crusaders go up for good at end of 1st half after seesaw game to start first homestand of 2018.

IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team surged ahead for good towards the end of the first half and hung on late after an early outburst in the second led to an 83-78 victory Friday night over Centenary College at the Maher Center.

Both teams top pair of scorers on the year did most of the damage as UD's Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) and Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) combined for 48 points, while Cedric Harris and Travion Kirkendoll poured in 50 total for the Gents.

All were involved late as the Gents cut a double-digit deficit. Levi and Colvin put up some highlight fastbreak scores for six points to keep Dallas' edge at 10, but the top two scorers in the game for the Maroon and White combined for 10 of its last 14 in the last 1:09 to get within four in the final 10 seconds.

Dallas improves to 9-5 overall and 3-1 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). The consecutive conference wins help the Crusaders move back to the top spot in the standings. Centenary dropped its second in a row and are now 8-6 and 2-2 in the league.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The first half featured eight lead changes and seven ties as both teams traded scoring runs. It was back-and-forth the first seven and a half minutes of action with five ties at that juncture. A layup by Neil Hawkins knotted it at 12 for the Gents, and he counted the and-one for an old fashioned three-point play at the line to put them up. After a sixth tie occurred with 11:55 left on Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) splitting his pair of free throws, the guests netted the next six points over 2:15 minutes.

Dallas erased that gap to 21-20, but then the next four points went to Centenary to make it a five-point edge and 5:04 until the break. The momentum swung for the Crusadsers the rest of the way as a 6-0 run nipped the margin capped by Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) muscling a jumper inside the paint. The home squad closed the first stanza on a 12-2 run.

Levi already had secured his eighth double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds to standout in the Crusaders 32-27 lead at the half.

UD kept the momentum flowing out of the gate over the next three minutes to build a 14-point edge with nine points in a row tallied. Colvin swished a three-pointer to cap that outburst, but Dyllon Weaver for the Gents answered with a trey of his own for the team's first points at 16:38.

Another triple by Colvin – who shot 3-for-5 from distance – would lift Dallas up by its greatest lead of the game (59-42) with about halfway to go in the contest.

Centenary countered to get within nine on a jumper by Kirkendoll just beneath four minutes remaining. Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas) hit the backend of two free throws next, and then Kirkendoll nailed a trifecta to get within seven with less than 30 seconds off the clock.

The Gents pressed throughout the game, and while successful at times creating 10 steals and aiding Dallas into 21 turnovers; Levi and Colvin took advantage on three straight Dallas possessions that ended on plays at the rim. Levi struck for a pair of dunks on the alley-oop form Colvin, while his layup came between. He was fouled on that play but missed at the line.

Dallas made 25 free throws for its second-most on the season, but were sent to the line 40 times thanks to 28 fouls on the Gents. UD sank just enough in the final minute with six out of 10 attempts at the stripe. Levi was 12-for-18, and Wambsganss iced the game with his second-of-two in the last seven seconds. A final three by Harris missed, as UD snapped a four-game skid in head-to-head meetings with Centenary.

STAT NOTABLES

Levi tends to be in the storylines for a variety of stats this year, and tonight it was his work off the glass that was memorable. The freshman garnered a personal-best 19 total and 14 on the defensive end. This went along with his team-leading 28 points, four assists, and three blocks.

Colvin contributed 20 points with four rebounds, assists, and three steals. Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas) added 10 points and six boards, while Wambsganss chipped in eight and five for those respective columns off the bench.

Dallas displayed its best shooting percentage of the New Year by making half its attempts on the floor with a 26-for-52 result. This included a 62.5-clip (15-24) in the second frame. The home team also edged on the boards by 10 (52-42). Centenary only committed 10 turnovers, and led 17-11 on points off miscues and 12-7 on second chance points.

Harris paced the Gents with 26 points, while Kirkendoll followed with 24. Hawkins added 10 off the bench. Centenary shot 41.3 percent overall, but were 7-for-27 in three-pointers. The guests went 9-for-13 at the line.

TIP-INS

Levi's rebound total tied ninth-most in SCAC history. He was matched by CooXooEii Black from Colorado College also on the night.

The freshman was two boards shy of tying the single-game record in the men's basketball program. Andy Baker holds the all-time best mark versus Southwestern Assemblies of God in a contest on February 14th, 1989.

The Crusaders have surpassed 40 boards the last three games and have exactly 42 in both matchups this week.

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UP NEXT

Dallas continues conference play with Austin College on Sunday at 12 p.m.