IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team leaped out to a huge advantage at intermission, and withstood another 49-point second half by Hendrix College to sweep the two-game season series in an 89-78 final. When these programs met nearly a month ago at Conway, the Crusaders carried a 44-27 lead into the locker room. That total stood as the most points in a first half through seven games until Tuesday night when Dallas went up 46-29.
Hendrix, who fell to 1-8, matched its second half point total from the first matchup with the Crusaders, and cut the gap within six (81-75) in the last 1:25. A technical foul that followed a personal foul allowed a four-point favorable swing at the free throw line for UD. Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) delivered the pair of free throws on the technical to complete his career-high, 32-point performance.
The Crusaders won their fourth straight and third in a row to stay perfect in December. They are 7-1 now.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Dallas pulled out to an 11-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game. The Warriors countered with Preston Smith, who was responsible for 13 of the first 17 points for his team. This included 10 Hendrix points in a row. A three-pointer and jumper by Smith cut the deficit to 13-12 with 13 still remaining in the stanza.
The Crusaders rushed out over the next three and a half minutes with the next 10 points to build a double-digit lead. Wambsganss connected a three and then went two-for-two at the line to finish off that surge with nine and a half left. Smith answered with a trey and jumper to get withing six, but Wambsganss sank another three and then a few plays later came up with a steal that he would finish after Joshua Nunn (St. Louis, Mo.) fed him an assist that made it 30-19. The gap spread in the final six minutes with Prince Giadolor (Rockwall, Texas), Wambsganss, and Spencer Levi (St. Louis, Mo.) contributing to UD's biggest lead of the first (18). Levi put an exclamation point on a dunk that he was fouled on. His and-one free throw was the first of three 18-point leads.
Even though Dallas was up by as many as 22 in the second, the Warriors fought back within nine and 9:28 to play. Trey Rouse's trifecta brought the score to 62-53, but Wambsganss had the next two layups and later swished a three-pointer that appeared to give the hosts a comfortable 16-point margin (81-65). The freshman scored all 19 bench points for the Crusaders in the second half.
Up with 3:29 by that mark, Hendrix made that deficit evaporate to six over the next two minutes. The guests netted 10 unanswered points, as the Crusaders scored one field goal since the game's leading scorer had that three. Fortunately, Dallas went shot 86.4 percent (19-22) at the charity stripe, and had the six of the last seven points in the overall game.
Wambsganss improved on his previous personal-best 20 points at Hendrix by shooting 10-of-12 from the floor, 5-of-7 from behind the arc, and 7-of-7 at the line. Giadolor contributed a season-high 19 points (10 in the second) and dished six assists. Levi rounded out the double-digit scoring performers with 15 and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Hendrix was led by Smith with 24 points. Rouse, Jacob Link, and Kam Brasfield each respectively contributed 13, 12, and 11 on the scoreboard. Marcis Hall hauled in a game-high 11 boards.
Dallas shot 53 percent in both halves to finish with a 53.3-clip. This compared to 40 percent for the Warriors. The visitors did attempt more from downtown shooting 7-of-26. The Crusaders held a 39-35 edge on the glass and 22-18 edge on assists. UD led in scoring in the paint (46-34), and fastbreak points (14-9). Hendrix forced seven more turnovers (24-17) and had a 22-16 lead in points from the miscues. The visitors were also better on second chance points 17-8.
The Crusaders 19 made free throws match a season-most from the season opener versus Millsaps College (Nov. 15).
Win-loss start matches the 2014-15 team, which had claimed the first seven to begin the campaign.
Dallas won its fifth straight in head-to-head meetings with Hendrix, and has won the past five games against the Warriors at the Maher Center. This includes four consecutive years dating to 2014-15 season.
FINAL! #UDCrusaders Men's Basketball win 4th straight and improve to 7-1 overall after Tuesday's victory! Wambsganss scored a game-high and career-best! Box Score: https://t.co/b7VarZxZOt @UDallasMBB #GoUD #UDMBB #d3h pic.twitter.com/9ky806Phfy— UDallas Athletics (@UDallasSports) December 20, 2017
Dallas finishes up the home stretch on Wednesday with MacMurray College. Tip is scheduled at 7 p.m.