SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College men's basketball team led Nebraska Wesleyan at halftime, but the Prairie Wolves shot better than 56% from the field after halftime and the 'Roos committed 11 turnovers on their way to a 92-67 loss on Sunday afternoon. The 'Roos are now 2-6 overall, while Nebraska Wesleyan moves to 8-0.
The first half was tightly contested throughout, with seven ties and six lead changes in the opening 20 minutes. Austin College used 48.6% first half shooting and held Nebraska Wesleyan to 41.2% in the first half to take a 43-41 edge into halftime. The Prairie Wolves twice took a five point lead in the game's opening 10 minutes, but Justice Mercadel and Kam Hogan keyed a run that put the 'Roos on top 25-23 with 9:31 left in the frame.
NWU regained the lead shortly after and pushed their advantage to 41-33 on a bucket by Dylan Dirks with 3:42 left, but Austin College would close the half with a 10-0 run to lead going into the break. Five different players scored during the run, with two free throws by Zachary Nickens with 40 ticks left giving Austin College the lead at halftime.
Nebraska Wesleyan came out hot with a 6-0 run in the first 90 seconds of the second half to take a 47-43 lead, and the Prairie Wolves held a 52-49 edge following two free throws from Cooper Cook. Josh Quinn buried a three to square things up with 15:27 left to play, but Deion Wells-Ross scored five in a row to help NWU take a 59-52 lead.
Two more points from Wells-Ross pushed the margin to double figures for the first time at 64-54 with 12:02 to play, and after a three-point-play by JP Feider, Nebraska Wesleyan responded with a 12-2 run to extend its lead to 76-59 with 6:23 left in the game. After a jumper by Nate Bahe made it 82-62 a minute and a half later, the deficit would stay above 20 points the rest of the way.
Hogan finished with 13 points and eight assists to lead Austin College, and Mercadel added 11 points. Michael Holland saw his double-double streak come to an end at four games, but still pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with seven points and five assists, and Feider chipped in nine points.
Five players reached double-digits for Nebraska Wesleyan, with Wells-Ross leading all scorers with 18 points and adding six rebounds, four assists, and four blocked shots. Jack Hiller added 15 points and seven boards, and Cook finished with 14. Bahe and Ryan Garver each chipped in 13 points.