Men’s basketball bounces back with two road wins

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The University of Dallas men’s basketball team kicked off a five-game road game with a win against conference opponent Texas Lutheran University (TLU). The Crusader victory halted a three-game slide and evened the season series against TLU at 1-1.

UD had one of its best first half defensive efforts holding TLU to 14 points through the first 15:07 of the half. However, the Bulldogs exploded going on a 17-7 run into halftime to take a 31-28 lead.

Dallas commanded the boards in the second half out rebounding TLU 21-12 and played evenly with the Bulldogs through the first 16:04 of the second half with each team scoring 29. The Crusaders went on a 12-4 run to finish the game and won 69-64.

Redshirt freshman John Russell scored in double digits for the second consecutive game and hit the first two shots of UD’s final run cutting deficit to 60-59 before making a layup to tie the game at 61.

“John’s baskets were huge,” said freshman guard Joshua Nunn. “He has been in foul trouble in the past couple of games late, so it was amazing to have him come up clutch in the fourth.”

Junior guard Darrius Colvin and freshman forward Spencer Levi dominated the scoring column combining for 29 of the Crusader’s 41 second half points. Colvin finished with a game high of 23 points, 15 of those coming in the second half, and contributed 7 rebounds for the game. Levi ended the game with his twelfth double-double of the season and fifth in a row scoring 21 points, 14 in the second half, and grabbing 16 rebounds.

The team continued their five-game road trip with a win against conference opponent Southwestern University (SU) on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s game was a grind between the Crusaders and the Pirates as the largest lead for either team was eight points. Dallas found some brief momentum at the end of the first half as they went on 14-3 run in the last 3:35 and held SU without a field goal.

The grind continued in the second half as the frame was dead even at 41 apiece. The Crusaders had another strong performance on the glass, pulling down 45 boards and out rebounding SU by six.  UD shot exceptionally well from the free throw line as a team in the second half, shooting 16-20.  Each team shot 23 times from the charity stripe in the game. However, Dallas hit five more than their opponents, the winning margin.

“This was a big weekend for us,” head coach Jarred Samples said. “Getting two wins helps us get back on the right track. Hopefully we can ride this momentum into our upcoming games.”

Freshman guard Joshua Nunn led the way at the line shooting a perfect 11-11 and accumulating a career high 15 points, all in the second half.

“At the line I try to stay focused and imagine myself shooting free throws at my local gym,” Nunn said when asked about his free throw performance. “I don’t really think about it too much at the line. Free throws are like second nature to me. It’s all about muscle memory, no matter what situation it is.”

“Josh’s free throws were huge,” Samples said. “You have to knock those down late in the game if you expect to win close games.”

Levi broke the UD single season blocks record of 53 set by hall-of-famer Eric Creeger in the 1994-1995 season.

“Spencer’s record is another impressive accolade in his young career,” Samples said. “I’m sure it won’t be his last if he continues to work and play the way he is capable.”

The freshman from St. Louis also catalogued his 13th double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Three other Crusaders were in double figures for the game. Colvin scored a game-high 20 points and also contributed 9 rebounds, and freshmen Michael Wambsganss and Russell both dropped 10. Russell has now scored 10 or more points in three straight games.

With the victory, UD improves to 11-8 overall and 5-4 in conference play and moves up to 4th place in the SCAC standings. Dallas concludes the month of January with their third game in their road trip against Arlington Baptist on Monday Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

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