James O’Toole, Contributing Writer
The University of Dallas men’s basketball team kicked off its season on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the Marymount University Tip-Off Tournament in Arlington, Va. Even without the presence of last season’s standouts, point guard and three-year captain Drew Assinesi and All-SCAC First Team forward Tanner Bruffey, who had exhausted their eligibility, the Crusaders achieved a victory Friday night before they were defeated in the Tip-Off Tournament Final by host Marymount.
UD started off slow against the Lebanon Valley College Dutchmen, falling into a 37-29 hole in the first half. The Crusaders found their rhythm in the second half, quickly pulling even with the Dutchmen and then building a 10-point lead. The Dutchmen did not go away, but the Crusaders fended them off to achieve a 71-69 victory.
“The young guys in the first half had to get the nerves out,” said the team captain, senior Ross Davidson, “but we settled in and made some key shots and free throws to seal the victory.”
Davidson led the Crusaders with 23 points while contributing seven rebounds, and senior guard Nate Wilson added 20 points on 6-11 shooting in the Crusader victory. Freshman point guard Lorenzo Gonzalez and junior Blaine Blackburn also played well in their first career starts.
In the Tip-Off Championship, the Crusaders fell 61-52 to host Marymount University. Starting off slow, the Crusaders climbed back in the second half, but the effort proved too little, too late.
Throughout the game, UD was plagued with turnovers and allowed 18 offensive rebounds, leading to easy buckets for Marymount. Forward Aaron Wyatt finished with 16 points and nine boards for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders look to build on their success this past weekend when they take on St. Joseph’s College (N.Y.) this Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. in their home opener.
The team hosts the Dallas Tip-Off Classic this weekend and will play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the University of the Ozarks.