The Austin College men’s basketball team got a fight from visiting LeTourneau University but managed to hold off the Jackets down the stretch thanks to some big defensive plays and clutch free throw shooting on their way to a 72-63 victory. With the win, the ’Roos are now 2-0 on the season.
The ’Roos raced out to a quick 12-8 lead following back to back three pointers from Josh Saunders and Nick Wade but the Jackets used a 10-1 run to grab an 18-13 lead with 7:30 left in the first half. Scott Straley buried a triple to cut it to a two point game and after LeTourneau pushed it back to a four point deficit, Straley hit another jumper and Saunders knocked down his second trey of the night to put the ’Roos on top 21-20 with 6:14 left in the half.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the half with the Jackets taking a three point lead before Straley scored five straight to give the lead back to Austin College, and just as it looked like LeTourneau would take a two point advantage into the locker room Walt Phillips knotted things at 32 and Arron Mewbourn knocked down a three pointer with four seconds on the clock to send the ’Roos into the break leading 35-32.
Straley’s tip in with 16:56 left in the game extended the Austin College lead to 42-36 but LeTourneau fought back and JJ Rockmore’s three with 12:53 tied the game at 42 all. The Jackets twice cut the lead to one over the next three minutes but both times the ’Roos responded, first with a three point play from Kyle Lintelman and then with a pull up jumper by Kola Alade to push it to a 49-46 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play.
The Austin College lead grew to seven four minutes later when Chris Sturtevant knocked down a three pointer to make it 57-50 and after the Jackets cut it to five the ’Roos got baskets from Straley and Alade to make it a 63-54 advantage with 2:31 left on the clock. The Jackets tried to make it interesting when Dale Vanwright was fouled on a three and knocked down all three free throws to trim it to a three point margin, but four free throws from Alade and five more points from Straley sealed the win for Austin College.
Straley came off the bench to finish with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting and pulled down six boards while Alade scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and added four assists and a pair of steals. Sturtevant and Saunders each had 10 points and five boards and Sturtevant dished out four assists and had three steals in the win.
Vanwright hit on just 2-of-13 attempts from the field but led the Jackets with 14 points and added six assists while Will Smith added 13 points and seven boards and Marchel Louimeus chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. The ’Roos forced LeTourneau into 23 turnovers and just 36% shooting in the second half.
Austin College heads to Irving this weekend to take part in the University of Dallas Classic, where they’ll take on Rust College at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Sul Ross State at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Big Second Half Lifts ’Roo Women’s Hoops
After heading into the locker room trailing the visiting LeTourneau University Jackets, the Austin College women’s basketball team used a big second half to pull away and cruise to a 65-45 victory on Tuesday, outscoring the Jackets by 22 points after the break. The ’Roos are now 1-1 on the year with the win.
Kersti Marusich scored seven of the first 10 points for Austin College as the ’Roos grabbed a 10-8 lead nine minutes into the game, but the Jackets responded with a 13-0 run capped off by a three point play by Alexis Popelar to make it a 21-10 game with 6:53 left in the first half.
Shayna Clardy got the ’Roos going offensively with a three pointer to get the margin back to single digits, and Spenser Cruikshank scored four points to cut it to a 24-19 game with 2:19 left on the clock. That remained the score until Katy Williams found Brittany Frasier for a three pointer with under a minute to go to make it a 24-22 game heading into the break. Austin College shot just 24.1% from the field in the first half.
Marusich scored just over a minute into the second half to tie things up and four more points from Cruikshank gave the ’Roos a 28-26 advantage with 16:41 remaining. The ’Roos twice pushed the lead to four but both times the Jackets got it back down to a two point game, but then Clardy and Frasier hit back to back threes to extend the Austin College lead to 42-34 with 11:34 remaining.
After a pair of free throws by Williams gave Austin College its first double digit lead of the night Clardy hit another trey to make it 47-34, and the lead grew to 18 when Williams completed a three point play to make it 54-36 in favor of the ’Roos with 4:13 left in the game. A three from Kayla Redden with just over two minutes remaining iced things for Austin College as the ’Roos shot 61.5% from the field in the second half on their way to the 20 point win.
Marusich led three ’Roos in double figures with 13 points while Cruikshank added 12 points and three blocks and Clardy hit 3-of-6 from downtown to finish with 12 points. Williams just missed out on her second double-double of the season, pulling down 17 rebounds and scoring nine points, all in the second half. Courtney Kenisky handed out a game-high five assists in the win.
Popelar finished with a game-high 16 points in the loss and Colleen Redmond chipped in with 13 points and three steals for the Jackets, who committed 24 turnovers and shot just 37.5% from the floor in the game.
Austin College will be home again this weekend when the ’Roos host the Bob Mason Classic. On Friday the University of Dallas will take on Spalding to kick off the tournament at 6:00 p.m. with the ’Roos following with a game against Texas Lutheran at 8:00 p.m. and then on Saturday UD will face TLU at 2:00 p.m. and AC will take on Spalding at 4:00 p.m.