SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College men's basketball team picked up a big win on Friday night, topping Centenary College 82-73 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The 'Roos improve to 4-6 overall and 1-0 in conference play with the victory.
The 'Roos got out to a fast start against Centenary, which was picked to finish second in the SCAC in the preseason coaches poll. Jeremy Swisher and Josh Quinn each knocked down early three pointers to help Austin College take a 13-7 lead with 14:10 left in the opening half. Centenary would respond with a 14-4 run to go on top 21-17 with 8:00 remaining before halftime.
The Gents held a 27-24 lead before Brian Baehl and Swisher knocked down consecutive triples to go ahead 30-27 with 5:07 on the clock, and after Centenary pulled to within one at 32-31, the 'Roos closed the half on a 7-0 run capped off by an Andres Rivera three pointer to go into the locker room leading 39-31.
Austin Wells and Quinn each knocked down a three and Swisher added another as Austin College took a 56-43 lead less than eight minutes into the second half, and Josh Dickerman's three pointer with 7:24 remaining made it 66-49 in favor of the 'Roos. Austin College's lead grew to as much as 19 at 72-53 with 3:50 remaining.
However, Centenary used a 10-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back threes from Cedric Harris, to cut the margin to 72-63 with 2:30 left to play. Austin College briefly got the lead back to double digits before the Gents trimmed it to 77-71 with 30 seconds to play. That's as close as things would get, though, as Dickerman, Rivera, and Austin Freet combined to go 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the game's final moments to seal the win.
Swisher paced four Austin College players in double figures with 22 points, adding nine rebounds. Wells finished with 12 points, while Freet and JP Feider each scored 10. Baehl had a game-high six assists to go along with six points and five rebounds.
Travion Kirkendoll led Centenary with 21 points and had eight boards, while James Sapp had 11 points and 10 rebounds. KJ Boyd chipped in 10 for the Gents, who shot just 30.3% from the field and 22.2% from long distance.