One of the most difficult things to do in college sports is win on the road, but the University of Dallas men’s basketball team just finished up a five-game road trip 4-1, ending it with an 86-78 loss to Centenary on Friday and a 99-80 win over Austin College on Saturday.
“I think our guys have done a good job on the road of finding ways to win,” Head Coach Jarred Samples said. “You have to grind games out and be tough. Not just physically tough but mentally tough. This group has really bought into that idea.”
On Friday, the Crusaders had a great start jumping out to a 16-5 lead. They began to lose control at the end of the first half, however, as Centenary finished the half on an 8-1 run to cut Dallas’s lead to 35-34 at half.
Centenary had a strong second half as the Crusaders struggled defensively and the Gents put up 52 points in the second half.
“We didn’t play defense like we have shown we can,” junior Darrius Colvin said. “Centenary was just the tougher team.”
“If we would have done a better job taking care of the ball, we could have easily had at least 10 more points,” Samples said. “We also missed too many free throws.”
The Crusaders had 18 turnovers that led to 24 Centenary points. They also went 19-30 as a team from the free throw line.
Freshman Spencer Levi had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow freshman Michael Wambsganss had 19 points off the bench. Senior Manny Calton, freshman Joshua Nunn and Colvin were also in double figures with 14, 10, and 10 respectively.
On Saturday the Crusaders put forth a better effort and avenged an earlier loss to Austin College, winning 99-80.
“The exact thing that went wrong Friday is what we fixed for Saturday,” Colvin said. “We played extremely hard and made sure to crash the boards and not give them second chance opportunities.”
Levi had another monster game with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Colvin also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Nunn had a big game with 20 points, ten of which came from the free throw line. Wambsganss contributed 17 off the bench. The team did a good job getting to the rim as Wambsganss and Nunn were the only players who attempted a three-point field goal.
“This freshman group has done a great job of improving every day,” Samples said. “I think the more they play and the more experience they get the better they get.”
“Us freshman really just learn from the older guys on the team by taking what we brought before we came here and taking what they have been giving us,” Levi said. “We contribute so well because we just pay attention and see the right way to do things and we’re not afraid to have some weight on our shoulders.”
Dallas fell to fourth in the SCAC standings, half a game behind Trinity. They take on Trinity at home on Friday Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m. and then they take on number one Schreiner on Sunday, Jan. 11 at noon. The team lost to Trinity in their first matchup and beat Schreiner at the beginning of January.
“I’m looking forward to playing the number one team in our conference and finally playing back home,” Colvin said.
“I think we will have a great atmosphere for basketball at the Maher Center,” Samples said. “I hope to see it packed with our students and fans.”