The Austin College men’s basketball team knocked down 50% of their shots from the field but Luther College used an 18-7 edge in second chance points to give the ’Roos a 73-65 loss on Friday in Hughey Gym. The ‘Roos are now 6-5 with the defeat.
Austin College got points from six different players as they built an early 16-12 lead midway through the first half, and after a bucket from Jordan Hancock pushed it to a six point lead, Walter Phillips became the seventh Austin College player to find the scoring column with a basket in the paint to make it a 20-12 ‘Roo lead with 8:23 left before the break.
Luther slowly started to chip away at the lead, and as the half came to a close the Norse used a 15-4 run that included a three pointer from Dane Larson to make it 25-24 and a last second layup by Rick Aleman to head into the locker room holding a 27-24 lead.
Austin College came out of the gates quickly to open the second half with Hancock and Josh Saunders getting early baskets to give the ‘Roos a 28-27 lead, but it would be short lived as Tyler Wedemeier converted a three point play to give the lead back to the Norse and Zach Matos scored as the lead swelled to 38-32 with 14:39 left to play. Austin College fought back to within two before back to back threes from Matt Zellmer and Tim Merritt made it a 46-38 game with 11:00 showing on the clock.
The Luther lead grew to 10 at 61-51 on a three by Michael Crocker with just over four minutes to play, but Saunders and Antoine Thompson scored the next eight for Austin College as the ‘Roos cut the lead back to single digits with the second bucket from Thompson making it a 65-59 game with 2:02 remaining. Saunders scored with 26 seconds left to trim it to a 69-65 margin but Crocker knocked down four free throws in the final 14 seconds to ice the game.
Saunders finished with a game-high 18 points and added seven steals, three blocked shots, three rebounds and two assists and Alen Michael added 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Thompson finished with 12 points and Hancock added 11 in the loss.
Larson led the Norse with 14 points and Merritt and John Androus each had 11 as Luther won the battle on the boards 35-25 and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in the game.
Austin College is back in action on Monday night when they host the University of Texas-Tyler at 8:00 p.m. in Hughey Gym.