James O’Toole, Contributing Writer
The University of Dallas men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought 64-59 to Trinity University, which currently sits atop the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) with a 6-1 conference record. UD jumped to an early first half lead, stifling Trinity’s high-powered offense with strong defense.
The Crusaders held Trinity to 36 percent first-half, shooting while knocking down their own shots at a 41 percent clip. Control over the game’s tempo and good defense led the home team to take a 26-24 lead at the break.
Trinity, winner of back-to-back SCAC conference titles in 2012 and 2013, slowly gained control of the game in the second half — despite shooting 40 percent from the field as a team. Trinity forward Robert Kitzinger found his offensive stroke, finishing with 33 points on 10-12 shooting, including a 5-6 mark from beyond the three-point arc. Despite taking a six-point lead on a Ross Davidson jump shot with just over 12 minutes to play, Trinity moved ahead for the first in the second half, 49-48, with six minutes to go.
Davidson, who led all UD scorers with 18 points and finished 7-13 from the field, buried a long three to give UD its final lead of the game, 51-49. Trinity’s Kitzinger scored 11 out of Trinity’s final 15 points. The game was UD’s fourth conference loss.
The Crusaders rebounded from the tough loss with a home game against rival Southwestern University, winning 70-64 and improving to 3-4 in the SCAC. Another strong defensive performance suffocated the Pirates, holding them to 39 percent shooting from the field in the first half. This time, the Crusaders were sure to hold on to their lead.
Southwestern fought back, however, and even went ahead 52-50 with just under eight minutes to play. Senior guard Nate Wilson answered the Pirate attack with a layup on the following UD possession, pulling UD even at 52-52. After a defensive stop, junior forward Aaron Wyatt tallied two free throws, putting UD ahead for good.
Wyatt led Dallas offensively, scoring 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first half. He missed only one shot from the field during the whole game. Wilson garnered 17 points for UD in the first half, sinking two key three-pointers to keep the Crusaders ahead in the first half, while juniors Kym Malone and Blaine Blackburn also scored 10 points each for UD.