Two tough losses, one tournament invitation

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Brian Bland
Contributing Writer

-------Photo by Rebecca Rosen------- Sophomore Braeton Hightower goes up for a jump shot while freshman Donovan Kelly (40) boxes out the Trinity defender trying to block the shot. The Crusaders lost to the Trinity Tigers last Friday, 74-59, but still advanced to the SCAC tournament.

In a heartbreaking conclusion to the regular season, the University of Dallas men’s basketball team went 0-2 on the weekend. They were defeated by Trinity University 74-59 on Friday night, and then dropped Saturday night’s game against Southwestern University 64-57. With this final weekend stand, the overall regular season record will enter the books at 7-18, with an SCAC conference record of 5-11 – a drastic improvement from last year’s overall record of 4-23.

Going into Friday’s game, Dallas knew that they were going to have an uphill battle, since Trinity is one of the top teams in the SCAC.  Although Dallas was able to limit Trinity from scoring early, a few defensive lapses and turnovers led to a point differential that the Crusaders were unable to overcome.  According to forward Tanner Bruffey, the defensive lapses and the inability to limit Trinity from scoring late in the game were the sources of the problem.

“They’re a great shooting team.  We did a good job of limiting their scoring early in the game, but we weren’t able to maintain solid defensive possessions when it counted.  We did not have the best shooting game either.”

Saturday’s game against Southwestern University was a bit of a different story.  Although Dallas was not getting many shots to fall – as evidenced by 30 percent shooting from the field, 10 percent from behind the arc, and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line – Southwestern was having trouble as well.  The game came down to defense, and Dallas just was not able to pull it together in the second half.

Team captain Drew Assinesi said that his team needs to be able to play an entire game, and not rely only on the solid performance of a single half.

---------Photo by Rebecca Rosen--------- Enthusiastic crowd of student fans filled the Maher Athletic Center for last weekend’s games against Trinity University and Southwestern University.

“This game was basically a tale of two halves; we were a great team in the first half and a completely different team in the second half.  We have to learn to play for a full 40 minutes as a team.”

There was a silver lining, however, to be taken from this weekend.  Prior to Friday night’s game against Trinity University, your UD men’s team had been able to notch one more SCAC win than conference rival Southwestern; thus, even though they dropped both games this weekend, since Southwestern was able to record only a single win, the men’s squad was still able to earn an invite to the SCAC tournament in Alabama – a very impressive accomplishment considering this season is UD’s inaugural year in the SCAC conference.

Assinesi is very optimistic about his team’s chances in the upcoming SCAC tournament.

“It’s a good feeling to be in the tournament considering we were picked to finish dead last in the conference, and I think it’s quite impressive that our young team was able to achieve this.  With this invite to the SCAC tournament, we have been able to prove everyone wrong, and now everyone’s records are 0-0.  We’re excited because we get the chance to play the #8 team in the country, which is always a great learning experience, especially for a team as young as ours.  The way I see it, we have the rare chance to play like we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It should be a great time and all the guys are very excited.”

---Photo by Luke Hollomon--- Sophomore guard Joe Stephens sends a shot soaring over the head of the defender reaching out to block the ball.

On behalf of the entire student body of the University of Dallas, I would like to wish our men’s team the best of luck in their very first SCAC tournament appearance. Good luck, Crusaders!

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