SHERMAN, Texas – Justice Mercadel scored 26 points to lead five players in double figures, and the Austin College men's basketball team held off a late charge by Paul Quinn College in the final minutes to earn an 85-82 win on Tuesday night in Hughey Gym. The 'Roos are now 3-4 overall on the year.
The teams traded baskets early on before Paul Quinn took a 13-6 lead on a three by Josh Cruz with 16:05 left in the opening half, but Michael Holland answered with a trey and shortly after, Kameron Hill knocked down a triple of his own to square things up at 18 apiece with 12:35 remaining. Austin College scored the next four points to take a 22-18 lead, and Mercadel's bucket with 7:12 left before the break made it a 29-23 game.
The lead would grow to as many as nine points as Kam Hogan's basket made it 36-27 with 4:32 on the clock, and Austin College maintained that margin until two and a half minutes left before halftime. The Tigers cut it to a five point game, but Mercadel buried a three to make it 43-35 with 1:41 on the clock. Paul Quinn would get a pair of points from the free throw line to make it a 43-37 game at the break.
Paul Quinn opened the second half with six quick points to knot things up, and a triple from Cruz gave the Tigers their first lead of the second half at 48-47 with 16:38 left to play. Austin College regained the lead at 51-50 on a basket by Luke Brumbaugh, and after Shakeel Hoffman scored to cut it to a 53-52 game, the 'Roos would score 10 unanswered to go on top 63-52 with 11:07 remaining.
Mercadel gave the 'Roos their largest lead of the game at 71-58 with just under eight minutes to play, but Paul Quinn came storming back and cut it to a 73-68 game with 5:21 left. The 'Roos would seemingly take control late, pushing the margin to 84-76 with 1:39 left but three straight turnovers by Austin College allowed the Tigers to scored six quick points and trim it to a two point game. However, Mercadel came away with a steal with time winding down and Hogan hit 1-of-2 free throws with 2.5 seconds left to make it an 85-82 final.
Mercadel hit 7-of-11 shots from the field and 11-of-12 from the free throw line to get his 26 points, adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Holland added 13 points and seven boards, and Hogan and Brumbaugh each scored 12. Hogan also dished out five assists. Devin Roland rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Hoffman had 18 points to lead the Tigers, and Cruz finished with 13. Danas Andrews had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Nicholas Cook chipped in 10 points. Jordan Smith came away with six steals and led the Tigers with four assists.