JACKSON, Miss. – The University of Dallas men's basketball edged Mississippi University for Women 86-83 on Saturday afternoon at the Millsaps College Thanksgiving Invitational. Dallas (1-2) secured its first victory of the 2018-19 season and also tied 11-year head coach Jarred Samples with the career wins record in the program with 111.
John Russell (Bossier City, La.) dropped a career-high 22 points, which also included a personal best 10-for-10 effort at the free throw line, in the triumph. Both teams shot above 40 percent from the field and had chances in this back-and-forth thriller with 13 ties and 14 lead changes.
The Crusaders notched a 32-29 halftime advantage and were able to hold on by the same margin, as each side poured in 54 points and shot north of 50 percent from the floor in that frame. Russell notched 14 points to aid his great performance, while Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) tossed in 12 of his season-high 18 points in UD's highest scoring half of the young season.
The largest lead for both teams was seven, with Dallas holding that greatest gap about five minutes into the second stanza (48-41) on a layup by Russell. The Owls countered right away and these teams traded spurts for claiming the momentum, as reflected by the nine ties and eight junctures the leading team changed in the last 20 minutes.
A layup by Cameran Hyde (Missouri City, Texas) stretched UD's edge to six (76-70) with exactly five minutes remaining. Ill'yan Scott answered back with a layup for the opposition and started a stretch of six straight to knot the score at 76 with 3:43 left.
After a timeout for Dallas, Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) split at the free throw line to make it a one-point lead on the next possession.
Scott made a layup on the next possession to give MUW is final lead of the game, as Nunn drilled a triple with just under three minutes for an 80-78 tally. Dallas never trailed the rest of the game, as a jumper by MUW's Scott tied things prior to the Navy and White stringing together six of the last nine points. Rashid Coombs (Houston, Texas) posted the go-ahead free throw with about two minutes to play. The last six points for the Crusaders were at the charity stripe, which they were 28-for-34 (82.4 percent) from overall.
Dallas has eclipsed 20 made free throws in all three contests this season and is shooting 80 percent from the stripe.
Nunn and Russell drained a pair of free throws to make the score 85-81 with 13 seconds left. A layup by Josh Skinner nipped the Owls' deficit to 85-83 with eight ticks to play. Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) made one-of-two free throws, and a last chance trey attempt by Skinner was off the mark.
The Crusaders started the game with the first five points, as their leading scorer Russell posted four of them. MUW claimed its first lead of the game (7-5) and eventually led by its greatest mark of 25-18 with 6:18 to go in the opening half after Skinner netted back-to-back trifectas. The Owls took off with an 11-0 run before Nunn's free throw for UD stalled the streak.
A nine-point scoring streak, this time by Dallas, propelled the squad up 30-27 towards the later part of the first half. The Crusaders headed to the break with a three-point lead, which was the eventual result in a game that snapped a two-game skid on the early road trip.
The Owls (0-5) remained winless but have fallen by a combined five points in the last two games.
Russell recorded double figures for the 10th game of his collegiate career. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. A trio of UD players scored double-digits with all coming from the starting lineup. Wambsganss followed with his 18 points, and Mathis eclipsed double-digits for the third time with 10. Five different Crusaders made three or more free throws. Hyde and Nunn each added nine points and had four free throws that went in.
Dallas shot 46.4 percent overall and 53.6 percent in the second half. This included 18-of-21 at the line. Dallas was edged on the boards 39-35. Both teams turned the ball over 16 times, with UD benefitting a little more with a 19-14 edge in points from the miscues. The Owls held a 12-0 edge in fastbreak points and 39-27 edge in points from the bench.
MUW was led by DJ Clark, who also had 22 points to match Russell for the game-high. Clark garnered a double-double with the game-high 15 rebounds. Tre Pinkston was the other starter in double figures with 16. Scott and Skinner added 14 and 10.
Jarred Samples is just one-of-two head coach for the Crusaders men's basketball program to soar above 100 career victories. The coach that Samples tied in the record book was his coach while he played for his alma mater, Brian Stanfield.
Dallas finishes the four-game road trip with host Millsaps College in the Thanksgiving Tournament . First tip will be at 5 p.m.