SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College men's basketball team held a 10-point edge with five and a half minutes to play, but Southwestern University would use a 21-4 run to close the game and hand the 'Roos a 77-70 defeat on Friday night in Hughey Gym. The 'Roos are now 2-11 overall and 0-2 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
The 'Roos got out to a hot start, with a three from Kameron Hill putting Austin College ahead 13-7 with 15:43 left in the opening half. Josh Hardwick would add a trey and Hill would bury another triple to push the lead to 22-9 four minutes later. The lead grew to as much as 13 before Southwestern began chipping away, with back-to-back buckets by Jake Holmes pulling the Pirates to within seven at 25-18 with 7:56 left before the half.
Southwestern would get a pair of threes from Justin McCormack to narrow the margin to 34-30 with 1:25 left, but a free throw by Justice Mercadel gave Austin College a five point lead at halftime. Both teams struggled from the field in the opening half, with Southwestern shooting 33.3% while Austin College connected on just 30.3% of its attempts.
Austin Wells knocked down a pair of threes to push Austin College's lead to 41-34 early in the second half before the Pirates responded with an 8-0 run to take lead of the game at 42-41 with 15:02 left in the game. Wells converted a three-point-play and added a jumper to put Austin College on top 46-45, and the lead grew to 50-45 on a bucket by JP Feider with 12:43 left to play.
Hill and Wells each buried a trey and Mercadel scored to give Austin College a 66-56 lead with 5:28 left to play but that's when Southwestern would start its decisive run, scoring 12 unanswered to go on top 68-66 with 2:32 to play. After Kam Hogan tied things up with a jumper, the Pirates would get a basket by Luke Hicks with 1:54 to play and would not relinquish the lead again the rest of the way.
Wells scored 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting to lead the 'Roos, while Mercadel finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Hill chipped in 12, and Michael Holland pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds while also blocking five shots.
Ryan Wheeler scored 13 points and Holmes posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards to pace the Pirates.
Austin College returns to the court on Sunday when they host Texas Lutheran at 12:00 p.m.