Men's Basketball ends Regular Season at Colorado College with Setback

Crusaders return to Colorado College next weekend for the conference tournament.
Crusaders return to Colorado College next weekend for the conference tournament.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of Dallas men's basketball team could not slow Colorado College on Saturday in an 89-80 setback on the final day of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) regular season.

Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) and Cooxooeii Black each had impactful performances with team-highs in points and a double-double for their respective squads. Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half, but the Tigers were able to hold onto their nine-point halftime lead.

Dallas dropped to 15-10 and 8-6 in SCAC play. Centenary College prevailed over Austin College later in the afternoon to put the teams in a deadlock for second place. The Crusaders held the tiebreaker, but if Trinity University won over Schreiner University Saturday night to create a three-way tie. Centenary earned the tiebreaker due to the best combined head-to-head record (3-1) against the teams. Dallas was 2-2 and Trinity went 1-3. The teams split the regular season matchups, so UD's 2-0 series sweep of 1st place Schreiner gave it the third seed. 

Colorado College improved to 12-13 and 7-7 in conference. The SCAC Tournament hosts earn the fifth seed after holding the tiebreaker with Texas Lutheran University.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Colorado College never trailed once as a Ryan Young three-pointer started the game. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) had the first two baskets for the Crusaders to keep the game tight in the early going. Black made a jumper for CC to give the home team its widest lead at that point, 19-11, seven minutes in.

Levi and Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) cut the deficit in half with the next two field goals. After four more points by the Tigers, it was UD's turn to make its first major run with eight in a row. Levi started the mini-surge, while back-to-back treys by Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) and Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) knotted the game at 23 for the only tie on the afternoon.

10 straight points for Colorado College turned the momentum over the next two minutes and opened the first double-digit difference with 6:11 before intermission. Black scored five of the points, including an old fashioned three-point play. Bobby Roth capped the outburst with a trifecta.

With two minutes left, a three by Nabeel Elabdeia stretched the Tigers advantage to their largest of the game by 13 (44-31). After being outscored 23-10, Dallas finished the last minute strong. Darrius Colvin (Waco, Texas) made a layup and then came up with a steal on the next possession. Levi made a fastbreak dunk and then swatted a block in the final seven seconds to hold the margin in single-digits at halftime, 46-37.

The Crusaders used an 11-2 run to claw back within four points through five and a half minutes into the second stanza. Levi and Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) both completed three-point plays at the foul line.

Immediate trifectas by Edmund Pendleton and Eric Jones ballooned the lead back up for CC. There were a couple more times the Crusaders shrunk the lead to six, but the home team was able to counter back.

A dunk by Levi made it 76-70 with 5:53 remaining. After the Tigers answered with two, Wambsganss dropped in his 4th three-pointer to make it a five-point game.

In the first meeting this season back in mid-December, the final score was 69-65 in favor of UD. Today, the Tigers notched their total that game in 28 minutes, while Dallas surpassed its total with just under six still to go.

Colorado College was able to score four more points after a couple turnovers from the Crusaders. Wambsganss made it a six-point deficit (84-78) with 1:05 on a jumper, but the Tigers closed things out.

STATISTICAL NOTABLES

Levi poured in 22 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. This is the third time Levi has eclipsed 30 points and matched his second highest total. Levi garnered his 17th double-double with 11 rebounds, and dished six assists (all in 1st half). Wambsganss chipped in 14 points, while Colvin added 10. Colvin grabbed six boards and dished five dimes. Russell added eight points and five rebounds.

Both sides shot exactly 16-for-28 (57.1%) in a half, with the Crusaders posting the mark in through the first. Colorado College used the percentage in the second to finish 54 percent overall from the field, while UD dipped to 49.2 percent overall. Both teams hit six 3-pointers, and had 18 free throw attempts with CC edging by one. The teams tied the same amount of inside points in both stanzas to finish 40-40. Both teams also turned the ball over 10 times, although the Crusaders held a 15-12 edge off the miscues.

The Tigers outrebounded Dallas 37-29, but the road team held leads in second chance points (20-15), fastbreak points (6-0), bench points (26-21), and total assists (20-14).

Black led CC with 29 points and 12 boards. Eric Houska contributed 23 points as the top scorers on the team combined for 22 field goals with 12 and 10, respectively. Houska also had five assists. Pendleton rounded out the top trio of scorers in double figures with 10 off the bench. John Hatch picked up three blocks, as the team finished with six.

TIP-INS

- Levi marked his 15th game with three or more blocks to increase his season record to 69. The team's season record is now at 110.

- Levi ends the regular season above 70 percent field goal shooting, and delivered his second highest total with 11 made shots.

- UD committed its fewest turnovers in a conference game this season, and were two off from the season-lowest against University of the Ozarks (Nov. 30th).

UP NEXT

Dallas is back in Colorado Springs for the SCAC Tournament held Feb. 23rd-25th. The Crusaders play on Friday as the third seed and will face sixth seed Texas Lutheran University, after the tiebreakers were determined Saturday night. The tip will be at 2 p.m. (MST), 3 p.m. (CST).