The Austin College men's basketball team battled back from a 12 point deficit to square things up with under a minute to play, but could not complete their comeback against Southwestern in a 59-57 loss on Friday night in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The 'Roos are now 1-5 overall and 0-1 in SCAC play on the year.
The 'Roos scored the first four points of the game as both teams struggled to get anything going offensively early, and the Austin College lead grew to 8-4 on a basket by Ransom Okpala with 13:52 remaining in the opening half. Southwestern would score the next five points, but the 'Roos would counter with an 8-0 run capped off by a basket from Alen Michael to make it 16-9 with just over 10 minutes before the break.
After the Pirates cut the lead to three the 'Roos got free throws from Colton Castle and Okpala to make it a 20-15 lead with 3:29 on the clock, but Southwestern would close the half on a 6-0 run to head into the locker room clinging to a 21-20 lead.
The Southwestern lead grew to six early in the second half but a three point play by Aaron Anwary capped off a 7-0 run to make it 27-26, though the lead was short lived as the Pirates would answer with a 13-4 run to make it 39-31 with 12:29 left to play. After an Okpala jumper cut it to 41-35, the Pirates would score the next six to push the margin to 12 with just under 10 minutes to play.
Castle hit a pair of three pointers as the 'Roos began to chip away at the deficit, and a layup by Antoine Thompson cut it to a 54-53 game with under two minutes remaining. Michael would knock down four free throws to square things up at 57 with 43 seconds remaining, but Southwestern's Travis Kurtz would draw a foul and knock down both free throws with 19 seconds remaining, and Kevin Graham's last second three point attempt hit the front rim.
Michael had game-highs of 16 points and 14 rebounds and added two blocks, two steals, and two assists in the loss. Castle finished with 11 points and six rebounds, and Okpala added 10 points and six boards as the 'Roos shot just 33.3% from the field and 16.7% from deep.
Michael Cantu and Sean Myers each scored 13 to lead Southwestern, while Kurtz finished with 12 points and five boards for the Pirates.
The 'Roos will be looking to bounce back tomorrow when they host Trinity University at 8:00 p.m.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
About Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges that Change Lives.