Crusaders Knock off Southwestern Saturday to hand them 1st SCAC Loss

Wambsganss big 2nd half lifted the Crusaders on Saturday, as he notched another double-double and season-high in points.
Wambsganss big 2nd half lifted the Crusaders on Saturday, as he notched another double-double and season-high in points.

IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball kept its winning ways going and also handed the final unbeaten team in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play its first loss in an 84-77 result over Southwestern University on Saturday night.

Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) poured 22 of his season-best 24 points in the second half, while Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) added 12-of-14 in the final 20-minute frame. The two sophomore guards were each able to bury key three-pointers that held off late comeback bid by the Pirates (8-7, 5-1 SCAC) who had shrunk a 16-point deficit in the 11:24 minutes to two with a little over a minute left.

SU's Brandon Alexander, who was this week's SCAC Player of the Week, tallied 26 second half points to leave him with a game-high 32. He landed nine of the visitor's final 14 points in a tight contest in the closing minutes.

Dallas (5-8, 4-2 SCAC) has now won four straight overall and all versus conference opponents. Beyond the big second half point totals for Wambsganss and Nunn, Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio) continued his hot conference scoring play with 15 points and Ben Norton (Louisville, Ky.) notched a career-high 14 points off the bench. Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) dished a personal-most 11 assists.

Nearly two minutes passed before John Russell (Bossier, La.) scored the first points by either side on a layup. The Crusaders surged ahead 11-3 with seven points coming from Fruhwirth and Russell adding another layup within that span.

Southwestern countered with 10 of the next 12 points to nip the margin to a point (14-13). A three-point play by Kyle Howard brought the score to that juncture. After a layup by UD's Norton, Andrew Puhl and Alexander gave the Pirates their lone lead of the contest with two layups just past the midway point of the half.

Dallas knotted the game and went up for good with the next six in a row starting on two free throws from Cameran Hyde (Missouri City, Texas). The freshman put in a layup and then Nunn swiped a steal the next possession and completed a fastbreak layup.

Three Southwestern points cut the gap to two, but seven more unanswered points by the home side brought the spread to nine. Fruhwirth hit a trey and then Russell and Norton added baskets in the paint. Dallas would go in front as many as 10 late in the stanza, which included a halftime 39-29 lead.

Dallas shot 48.4 percent from the field compared to 32.4 percent for SU.

Both teams shot north of 51 percent in the second half, with the Pirates tallying a 48-45 edge in scoring.

Things appeared to favor the Crusaders most of the way as each time Southwestern clipped the score more, they would answer with a mini-surge that placed the margin back to double figures. Nunn had an old fashioned three-point play while Wambsganss hit his third trifecta in a row to open a 14-point lead (56-42) with 14:47 to go. UD's largest lead of the game was 16 (62-46) on the heels of six straight points with 11 and a half minutes.

The Pirates made six three-pointers in the half after just two in the first 20 minutes to stick around. They also began applying more pressure and soon had the score at 68-63 with five minutes. Alexander responded to a pair of Dallas free throws with a trey that made it a four-point game, which Wambsganss answered with one of his own. Southwestern kept at it until triples by Puhl and Alexander made it two-point deficits each time.

The game's leading scorer had Southwestern's final points on his trifecta with 1:18, as Nunn banked a jump shot on the left wing to make it a four-point contest. Alexander missed the next attempt and UD connected on four of the next five free throws.  

Wambsganss finished 9-of-16 from the field and hit a season-high five three-pointers. His 10 rebounds tied a personal-best from the last outing and gave him double-doubles in back-to-back outings. Fruhwirth extended his double-digit streak to six conference games and grabbed a career-high seven boards.  

Another player pouring in a career-best in the scoring column was Norton that was led by a 5-for-6 field goal shooting game. Four of his five rebounds were on the offensive glass. Russell chipped in eight points to go with five boards. Nunn was the other UD player with multiple assists, as the team came up with 18. Nunn, Wambsganss, and Mathis formed a trio of starting guards that picked three steals apiece. The team had a season-high 10 that helped force 16 turnovers. Dallas committed 14.

The Crusaders took off on the break with an 11-4 advantage on the fastbreak. They also were better with points off turnovers (23-11) and points in the paint (36-32).

The Pirates were led with an Alexander double-double on points and rebounds (11) behind 11-for-21 field goal shooting, 4-of-7 from downtown, and 6-of-7 from the line. The other player in double-digits for scoring was Puhl with 13. Southwestern held a 38-34 edge on the glass, which led to a 20-11 difference in second chance points.

The Dallas triumph at the Maher Center was the first over the Pirates since 2013-14.


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UP NEXT

Dallas picks up a busy stretch with three contests over the next week starting with a non-conference home matchup with Arlington Baptist University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.