The Austin College men’s basketball team held an 11 point halftime lead, but a cold shooting second half allowed Southwestern University to climb back and hand the ‘Roos a 69-64 loss on Saturday night in Hughey Gym. The ‘Roos are now 7-10 overall and 3-4 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Alan Sullivan, Jeremy Swisher, and Brian Baehl got the ‘Roos going early as the trio combined for the team’s first 15 points and held Austin College to a 15-7 lead with 13:49 left in the opening half. The lead grew to double digits at 19-9 after a basket by Cedric Hudson but the Pirates would counter with an 8-0 run to cut it to a two point game with 9:08 left before halftime.
Austin College would respond with a run of its own, as Sullivan’s three pointer capped a 7-0 spurt to make it a 26-17 game, and Sullivan’s layup with 4:47 left pushed the margin to 30-19. The lead grew to as much as 13 on a free throw by Baehl to make it 35-22, and after the Pirates trimmed the deficit to single digits, Baehl beat the buzzer with a layup to send Austin College into the break leading 37-26.
The teams started trading three pointers early in the second half, with Chris Lee’s trey being answered by Swisher to make it a 44-34 game three minutes out of the break. The Pirates kept creeping back in on their ensuing possessions, twice getting the margin down to seven before baskets by Baehl and Eghosa Igbinosa gave Austin College a 53-42 lead with 13:32 to play.
However, that’s when the second half cold streak would begin for Austin College, as Southwestern went on a 16-1 run capped off by a trey from Ben Stiver to give the Pirates a 58-54 lead with 5:20 left to play. The Pirate lead grew to as much as eight on a free throw from Adrian Johnson to make it 66-58, and Austin College was unable to get the margin under four points the rest of the way, getting to 68-64 on a bucket by Swisher before Lee’s free throw with 13 seconds left iced it.
Sullivan hit 9-of-17 attempts from the field and led all scorers with 21 points while adding seven rebounds and two assists, and Swisher finished with 16 points, five boards, and three assists. Baehl finished with 15 points and six boards, and Austin Freet had a game-best 12 rebounds in the loss.
Stiver went 7-of-7 from the field, including 5-of-5 from long range to finish with 19 points and added four rebounds, and Zach Whitlock chipped in 15 points and five boards as Southwestern shot 48.5% from the field in the second half, after hitting just 32.3% in the opening frame.