Men's Basketball clinches SCAC Tournament Spot; Edge Trinity in Pivotal Game

Crusaders split season series with Trinity, and earn postseason berth for SCAC Tournament in two weeks.
Crusaders split season series with Trinity, and earn postseason berth for SCAC Tournament in two weeks.

IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team won a scrappy game over Trinity University in 75-66 fashion on Friday evening at the Maher Center. The game featured 10 lead changes, with Dallas pulling away down the stretch thanks to a 43-29 second half.

This victory helped the Crusaders clinch a spot in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Tournament two weeks from now at Colorado College. Dallas qualified for the first time since 2014-15 when the institution hosted as the fourth seed.

Dallas improved to 14-9 overall and 7-5 in the SCAC to move into a tie with Centenary College, who fell by two at Texas Lutheran University the same night. The Crusaders, who have won five-of-six, currently own the tiebreaker. Trinity fell to 12-10 and 6-5 after the setback.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Crusaders jumped out to a double-digit lead at 19-9 through the first eight minutes of play. Trinity clawed back over the next several minutes, as a three-pointer by Isaiah Specks made it 26-25 with 8:22 left in the stanza. Matthew Colliflower put TU up 27-26 with six and a half remaining, as UD's offense remained cold.

Besides a John Russell (Bossier City, La.) jumper at 8:35, the Crusaders did not find the bottom of the next until Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) nailed a trey to make it 29-28 with five left. The guests went on a 13-2 run since 10:44.

The Tigers went into halftime scoring seven of the last eight points. All of theirs came in a row sparked by a three-pointer from Jayden Holden.

Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) split at the line to make it a 37-32 deficit at the break.

Trinity posted its largest lead of the game at 12:49 in the second half with a 48-41 margin. The home team countered and knotted the score at 50 thanks to a trifecta from Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) that awakened a rowdy crowd. Splits at the free throw line by Levi and Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) gave Dallas its first lead of the frame with a minute beyond the midway point.

The Tigers answered back to knot it 53-53, but the Crusaders netted seven points in a row that included another three by Wambsganss, couple free throws by Levi, and capped on a Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) layup on the second chance opportunity.

The Crusaders pushed their advantage to eight, but a late surge by Trinity clipped the deficit to three with 1:13. Nylan Yancy connected on the old fashioned three-point play to make it 65-62, but Dallas ended the game by scoring 10 of the last 14 points. This included a 10-2 run before a last second layup on Trinity etched the final result.

STATISTICAL NOTABLES

Levi surpassed 20 points for the ninth time this season with 23 and grabbed 17 rebounds for his 16th double-double. The record holder for blocks was able to notch five, as UD finished with seven to eclipse the century mark on the year. He also dished four dimes.

Colvin followed with 18 points and made the other pair of blocks. Nunn and Russell followed with 11 points and Russell missed a double-double with nine boards. Wambsganss contributed 10 off the bench to finish off the double-digit scorers for UD.

Dallas shot 42.4 percent from the field compared to a 37.1-clip by the Tigers. Dallas benefited from a 27-12 edge in fouls, but struggled at 20-for-36 (55.6%) at the line. The Crusaders outrebounded TU 47-40 and scored a 34-28 edge for points in the paint. UD held a 13-8 edge in second chance points, but allowed the Tigers to lead 11-8 in points off turnovers.

Trinity was led by Specks off the bench with 17 points (14 in the first half), thanks to 5-of-7 three-point shooting. Holden added 14 points, and Danny Rivara notched 11 points and rebounds for a double-double. He also had five assists.

TIP-INS

- Dallas has defeated Trinity at the Maher Center four straight seasons.

- The team has garnered 40 or more rebounds in the last four-of-five SCAC games.

- The Crusaders have attempted at least 30 free throws in the past three games and four of last six.

SOCIAL MEDIA

UP NEXT

Senior Day will be Sunday for Emmanuel Calton (Keller, Texas), as Dallas concludes its home calendar this season with a 12 p.m. tip-off versus first place Schreiner University.