The Austin College men’s basketball team went cold from the field, shooting just 30.5% overall and 20% from three point range, and fell short of Rust College by a final score of 74-70 on Tuesday night. The ‘Roos are now 4-5 overall with the loss.
The ‘Roos jumped out to an early 11-2 lead helped largely by a pair of threes from Kevin Graham and Jeremy Swisher, but Rust stormed back to take a 12-11 lead with 14:51 on the clock. Threes from Jordan Hancock and Ransom Okpala put Austin College back on top 17-12 with 13:40 left, but Rust fought back to grab a 25-23 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the opening half.
The lead grew to 29-23 before a Graham three and a pair of free throws from Okpala, but Rust pushed the margin back to 37-28 with 6:37 left. The ‘Roos made a late run in the first half capped off by an Okpala bucket to knot things at 37 with 2:12 left, but a 7-2 run by the Bearcats made it a 44-39 game at halftime.
Austin College chipped away and cut it to a 47-45 game on a basket by Okpala early in the second half, but Rust was able to maintain the lead throughout the second period. The ‘Roos were never able to pull closer than a two point margin, but had some strong opportunities late after pulling to within 69-67 with just over a minute left, and 72-70 after an Okpala three with 47 seconds left.
The ‘Roos forced a turnover on the ensuing Rust possession, but Okpala’s three pointer with 20 seconds remaining just missed and the Bearcats would add a pair of free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Swisher connected on three triples on his way to 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Okpala finished with 14 points and five boards as the only other ‘Roo in double digits. Graham finished with eight points for the ‘Roos, who hit just 8-of-40 three pointers in the game.
Keahmere Gredic scored 15 to lead Rust, and John Bowens had 13 points and 10 boards. Paul Anderson drilled three treys to score 12 points off the bench for the Bearcats.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.