SHERMAN, Texas – For the second straight day, the Austin College men's basketball team got out to a big lead and had to hold off a late rally, topping Howard Payne University 72-64 on day two of the Bob Mason Classic in Hughey Gym. The 'Roos are now 2-0 to open the season with the victory.
Brian Baehl scored four points early and Kevin Graham knocked down a three pointer to put Austin College on top 10-4 with just over 14 minutes left in the opening half, and Cedric Hudson and Alan Sullivan combined for 12 of the team's next 14 points as the 'Roos pushed the margin to 24-11 with 7:54 left before the break.
The lead grew to 14 on a three pointer by Cody Meyers to make it 30-16 with 6:10 left, and after the Jackets cut it to a nine point game with five unanswered, Josh Dickerman scored seven straight to push the 'Roo lead to 37-24 with 2:46 on the clock. Howard Payne would cut the margin to 39-28 heading into halftime.
Austin College quickly pushed the lead to 20 as Sullivan scored five quick points and a Jeremy Swisher basket made it 52-32 with 15:43 left, and Hudson would score nine of the next 11 for Austin College with a three pointer to make it 63-43 with 11:32 remaining in the game. However, the 'Roos would go ice cold after that, going scoreless for nearly seven minutes before a free throw from Hudson ended an 11-0 run by the Jackets and made it 64-54 with 4:44 to play.
Howard Payne would pull within four at 66-62 on a pair of Jorden Young free throws to cap off the 19-3 scoring run by the Jackets. However, Sullivan would bury a three pointer with 50 seconds remaining to make it 69-62, and free throws from Hudson and Ryan Reibly would ice the game for Austin College.
Hudson finished with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Sullivan finished with 13 points and knocked down a pair of threes. Swisher finished with 12 points and four rebounds, and Austin Freet grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds and added two blocked shots and two steals. The 'Roos held the Jackets to just 30.8% shooting overall and 15.4% from long range, while Austin College made 44.3% of its field goal attempts.
Brandon Gould scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds to pace the Jackets, and Curtis Gile had 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds as Howard Payne held a 48-40 edge on the glass and pulled down 21 offensive boards as a team.
Austin College is back in action on Tuesday when they host Bacone College at 7:00 p.m. in Hughey Gym.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.