By Jake Loel
This past Saturday, the University of Dallas men’s basketball team took on the University of California, Santa Cruz Banana Slugs for the opening game of its long season. The Crusaders took an early lead in the first minutes of the game. Sophomore Michael Sarrat, senior Mark Promberger, and senior Blaine Blackburn collaborated to give the Crusaders a three-for-three shot record and a 7-2 lead to start the season off right. However, the hilariously-named Banana Slugs pulled forward, and at the half the Crusaders were down 31-34. The second half went extremely well for the Crusaders, who managed to score 33 to the Slugs’ 23, taking the win. Sophomore Tom Kaiser led the team with eight rebounds, and he and senior Aaron Wyatt scored 15 points each. The game was a tight contest, and no team was the clear leader at any point, with eight points being the largest lead held by either team.
The next day, the Crusaders stayed in Santa Cruz to take on the University of Redlands Bulldogs. The match went into overtime, and the Dallas squad came out on top with a 75-73 finish. This is a very propitious start to the season for the men’s basketball team, a team that has struggled to gain momentum in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) in previous years. Last year, UD posted a 12-14 (5-9 SCAC) record for the season, and the program is looking ahead to a more successful season. Led by head coach Jarred Samples and assistant coach Matt Grahn, the Crusaders will head to Sherman, Texas next week where they will take on Howard Payne University and Sul Ross State University.