The sixth-seeded Austin College Kangaroos stunned the third-seeded University of Dallas Crusaders 74-58 in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday night in Hughey Gym.
Austin College got out to a hot start from the field, shooting 58.3% from the floor in the first half, and kept that offensive momentum going in the second half. The ‘Roos finished the game knocking down 55.1% of their field goals overall. Both teams got off to a slow start on the offensive end before an 11-2 run for Austin College made it 21-10 in favor of the ‘Roos with 5:30 left before halftime.
Two three pointers from Drew Assinesi quickly cut the margin to 28-20 with 2:37 left before the break, but Austin College would respond by scoring seven unanswered to push the margin to 15 before Assinesi scored twice in the final minute of the half to send the Crusaders into the locker room trailing 35-24.
Dallas pulled to within seven early in the second half after a pair of Tanner Bruffey free throws that made it 39-32, and after a small run by the ‘Roos, a Bruffey three pulled UD back to under single digits with 9:11 to play. With the score at 66-55 in favor of the ‘Roos with two and a half to play, Austin College would score eight unanswered highlighted by a breakaway dunk from Ransom Okpala to give the ‘Roos their largest lead of the game at 74-55.
Okpala hit 7-of-13 shots from the field on his way to 17 points and added three steals, and Walter Phillips added 14 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. Harry Hampden-Smith came off the bench to score 13 points, grab nine rebounds, and hand out four assists and Jordan Hancock chipped in 12 points for the ‘Roos.
Assinesi led all scorers with 19 points, knocking down 3-of-5 from long range, and handed out a game-high six assists for Dallas. Ross Davidson scored 18 points and grabbed nine boards and Bruffey finished with 10 points and six rebounds as Dallas shot just 40.7% from the game.
With the win, Austin College advances to the SCAC semifinals where they will take on second-seeded Colorado College at 7:00 p.m. Colorado College has won two of three against the ‘Roos this season, but Austin College knocked off the Tigers 72-61 on January 20 in Hughey Gym. The winner will face either top seeded Trinity University or fourth-seeded Southwestern University in the SCAC Championship game on Sunday.