The Austin College men's basketball team exploded out of the gates in its season opener against Howard Payne, knocking down 17 three pointers and handing out 30 assists as a team in a 104-92 victory on Saturday night. The 'Roos shot 42% from long range in the victory.
Austin College got things clicking from downtown early on, with Kevin Graham knocking down two threes as the 'Roos hit four triples early to get out to an 18-8 lead less than six minutes into the game. Cody Meyers and Ransom Okpala each got in on the action with a three each, extending the lead to 24-10 with 11:49 left in the opening half. Howard Payne scored 10 straight to trim it to a four point lead but back to back threes from Jeremy Swisher pushed it back to a 34-21 game with 6:31 before halftime.
A basket by Jordan Hancock made it a 17 point margin at 41-24 just over a minute later, but the Jackets used a 13-4 run over the final five minutes to pull within 45-37 at the break.
The 'Roos picked up right where they left off early in the second half with Okpala hitting a pair of threes and Brian Baehl knocking down one of his own to make it a 56-42 game with just under 16 minutes to play, and consecutive baskets by Meyers made it 68-51 with 10:51 left on the clock.
Threes from Meyers, Hancock, and Okpala kept the 'Roos up by 18 at 79-61 with 7:38 left and the 'Roos pushed the lead to 20 on a pair of Alan Sullivan free throws to make it 83-63 with 6:49 left. The 'Roos were not done raining threes just yet, as Baehl along with Andres Rivera and Josh Dickerman all knocked down triples and Aashir Sohail got Austin College to the century mark with a basket with 53 seconds left, making it a 100-84 game, and the 'Roos would ice the game from there.
Okpala led the 'Roos with 19 points and hit 5-of-11 threes while adding nine rebounds, and Baehl came off the bench to score 16 points and hand out seven assists. Swisher finished with 13 points and Hancock added 11 points and seven assists, while Meyers finished with 10 as 13 different players scored for Austin College, which shot 50.7% from the field as a team.
Howard Payne's Donovan Ford hit 11-of-19 shots from the field to lead all scorers with 33 points and added seven rebounds and four assists, and Blake Arbogast had 14 for the Jackets. Colby Byrd scored 14 and Jorden Young rounded out the double digit scorers with 10.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
About Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges that Change Lives.