SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team concluded the regular season with a 68-55 setback at Trinity University on Saturday evening. The Crusaders finished 9-16 overall and 6-10 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Trinity improved to 6-19 overall and also finished 6-10 in league play. Both teams secured a final berth into the SCAC Tournament on Friday with Austin College falling at Texas Lutheran University.
Poor shooting was the story again for Dallas, as the Tigers took advantage of a 5:18 minute drought to close the first half. The road team missed 16 field goal attempts during that stretch. Trinity was able to build a 34-21 halftime advantage. Despite the Crusaders efforts in the second half from the bench, a nine-point margin was as close as things would come.
It was a back-and-forth start to the contest. There were four ties and five lead changes through about the midway point of the opening stanza. A three-pointer by Jai Love (St. Louis, Mo.) gave the Crusaders their final lead of the game (19-17). It was also the last made field goal with 11:58 to play that half. Both weekend road games, the Crusaders were held without a field goal for nearly 12 minutes.
Dallas shot just 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) from the field in the first half, with five coming from downtown. UD did take 20 attempts from the three-point arc in that frame, and finished 21.9 percent (7-32) overall from that range. The Crusaders were held to a season-low 29.6 percent overall from the floor.
The Tigers got a game-tying layup from Ben Hanley to make it 19-all. Matthew Colliflower split at the free throw line to give the home team the advantage the rest of the way. A 10-2 run over the next five minutes pushed the Tigers up 27-21. That run eventually swelled to 17-2 and put Trinity ahead by 13.
A strong start to the second half lifted TU in front by as many as 24 on several occasions. Dallas rattled off eight straight points with Love making a three and Cameran Hyde (Missouri City, Texas) scoring the next six. He had an old fashioned three-point play and then hit the front end of two free throws to reduce the deficit to 15 with 7:41 left.
It was the Tigers that went cold down the stretch, as they allowed a 14-2 scoring streak to cut the big lead to 11 with five and a half to play. A four-minute drought ensued by both sides with Love tallying the next points at the free throw line with two-of-three shots made after getting fouled on a three-point shot.
Trinity handled business to finish off the home win, which was its third in a row against the Crusaders at that venue in as many seasons.
Love notched a personal-best 17 points with 5-of-8 shooting in field goals and added a 5-for-7 at the line. Hyde followed with 14 points off the bench. He was one shy of a career-high and this was the fifth time to reach double-digits this season. Michael Wambsganss (Denver, Colo.) had eight points.
The Crusaders outrebounded Trinity 41-39, led by Letrell Toussaint (Waco, Texas) with six. A trio of players: Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas), Logan Fruhwirth (Waynesville, Ohio), and Isaiah Hayes (Arlington, Texas) pulled down five.
Trinity shot 42.6 percent from the floor but also struggled for three with 3-of-13 shooting. The Tigers went 13-for-17 at the free throw line. They forced UD into 24 turnovers while committing just 13. Dallas did score 13 points off of turnovers, but the Tigers had the advantage with 21. Trinity used its size advantage to power a 36-16 edge in points in the paint.
Even with UD's top two scorers off the bench combining for 31 points, Trinity poured 42 led by Danny Rivara's 22 for a game-high. He also hauled in six rebounds to lead the team and match the most by an individual. Jordan Lippman was the other Trinity member in double figures for points with 10.
Dallas turns its attention to the conference tournament on February 22 at host site Texas Lutheran University. Since Trinity and Dallas split the regular season series, the Crusaders claim the next tiebreaker with their victory over Southwestern University at Irving. The league is awaiting the result of Centenary College at Texas Lutheran tomorrow to determine the final bracket, which will be released on the 2019 SCAC Basketball Championships website.