SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College men's basketball team led by as much as 17 and held a 15 point lead with just under six minutes remaining, but the 'Roos had to hold off a furious comeback bid by Sul Ross State University in a season opening 77-73 victory on Friday night. The 'Roos are now 1-0 as they head into day two of the Bob Mason Classic tomorrow.
The 'Roos jumped out to a 12-7 lead following buckets from Kevin Graham and Andres Rivera, and an Aaron Anwary three pointer pushed the margin to 18-9 with 12:09 left to play in the opening half. The Lobos cut it to a four point deficit at 21-17 with 10:25 on the clock but Ryan Reibly scored five quick points to push it to a 26-17 game.
Sul Ross got back to within three at 26-23, but the 'Roos would use a 17-3 run highlighted by seven points from Cody Meyers to take a 43-26 lead with 2:04 left before halftime. Stephon Holland scored five quick points for the Lobos, and Josh Coleman banked in a three pointer at the buzzer to make it a 44-34 game as the teams headed into the locker room.
Austin College used a quick 6-2 run to open up a 50-36 lead with 14:54 to play, and the 'Roos were able to get to the free throw line repeatedly to maintain a double digit margin for most of the second half despite struggling from the floor. The 'Roos shot just 28.6% from the field in the second half, after having shot 56.7% in the first 20 minutes of action.
A three point play by Jeremy Swisher pushed it to a 62-47 lead for Austin College with 8:51 left on the clock, and after the Lobos cut the deficit to 10, Alan Sullivan's three pointer helped push it back to a 15 point margin at 70-55 with 5:52 on the clock. However, the Lobos would hit six free throws and get back to back buckets from Rocky Feliciano and Mike Huffman to cut it to a 72-67 game with 3:12 left. After a Brian Baehl basket made it a seven point game, the Lobos would score six straight to pull to within one at 74-73 with 40 seconds remaining. Baehl would knock down two free throws and Reibly would add one more to ice the game.
Swisher hit 5-of-11 shots and 6-of-7 free throws to finish with a game-high 16 points while adding two assists and two steals, and Graham added 10 as 14 different 'Roos got into the scoring column. Alvin Michael grabbed eight boards and Baehl dished out a game-high four assists in the victory.
Holland scored 15 and pulled down seven rebounds to lead Sul Ross, while Coleman added 10 and Alex Harrison scored 10 points and had nine rebounds as the Lobos shot just 35.5% from the field in the game, and went 0-of-11 on three pointers in the second half and shot just 22.2% from long range overall.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.