By Jake Loel
On Thursday, the University of Dallas basketball team took on the Patriots of Arlington Baptist College in the Crusaders’ final non-conference game of the season. The matchup resulted in a score of 107-93 in favor of the Crusaders.
The Patriots did not waste any time starting the game off well, throwing down a huge dunk and running a full-court, double team press on the first few possessions of the game. The Patriots’ intensity continued throughout the game. Although the teams were neck-and-neck until there were about 10 minutes left in the first half, the Crusaders were clearly uncomfortable with the double team press and unconventionally fast-paced offense. This resulted in their turning the ball over often while their centers and forwards struggled to pick up rebounds from the Patriots, despite the Crusaders’ height advantage. The Crusaders’ roster includes four men over 6 feet 5 inches, whereas the Patriots Roster only showed one man at the 6-foot-5-inch mark.
The Patriots’ playing style was unconventional, to say the least. Almost every man on their 14-man squad saw sizeable playing time, and the Arlington Baptist coach, Clifton McDaniel, subbed in five men at a time every five minutes or so. Even their biggest players proved their athleticism by participating in guarding the Crusaders’ guards in the full-court press, and remarkably, even those who were over 200 pounds were able to sprint up and down the court without showing signs of exhaustion. The Patriots rarely set up an offense, preferring either to have their point guards shoot a three or rely on fast-break points. The point guards never carried the ball to the center of the floor, always dribbling toward the right side of the court.
Eventually, the Crusaders managed to figure out how to handle the Patriots’ offense, and with five minutes left in the first half, they found themselves ahead by double figures. Despite a time out by McDaniel which inspired a high intensity defense, the Crusaders ended the half 56-34.
In the second half, the Patriots again started off strong, with three back-to-back three-point shots, but they soon lost momentum. The Crusaders then took complete command and were up by as many as 29 points throughout the second half. Even then, the Patriots refused to give up, continuing their unconventional press and fast-break offense. This intensity of play allowed the Patriots to ultimately outscore the Crusaders in the second half, although it was not enough to win. Despite their deficit, the Patriots never showed negative emotion and demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, a quality which has been lacking from many of the games in the Maher Athletic Center this semester. Both sides could be seen patting each other on the back and showing a certain amitié that can only be found in friendly sporting events.