SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College men's basketball took an eight point lead into halftime and held off a late charge by Hendrix College on Saturday, topping the Warriors 62-53 to improve to 5-0 on the year.
Both teams came out of the gates cold on the offensive end, as Austin College took a quick 4-0 lead and the Warriors not getting a made bucket until nearly six minutes into the game to make it 4-3. The lead grew to 11-3 as Hendrix continued to struggle from the field, and it wasn't until 8:48 left in the first half that the Warriors got their second made basket on a three pointer from Bryce Parker to cut it to a 15-9 Austin College lead.
Austin College's lead grew to as much as 12 on a Jeremy Swisher basket to make it 23-11 with 4:52 on the clock. The Warriors fought back to make it a 24-17 game, but a triple from Andres Rivera pushed the margin to 27-17 with 1:27 left in the opening half. Hendrix would get a pair of free throws to make it a 27-19 game at the break. Both teams struggled from the field, with Austin College shooting 29% while Hendrix shot just 17%. The struggles continued at the free throw line, with the 'Roos hitting just 3-of-8 while the Warriors made only 7-of-17 first half attempts.
Hendrix quickly cut into the deficit to open up the second half, with a Bryce Batchelor basket making it 29-25 with 16:42 on the clock. Swisher's three pointer extended the lead to 34-27, and after the Warriors cut it to a three point game, Austin Freet buried a trey to make it 39-33 with 11:23 left in the game.
Hendrix fought back and tied things up for the first time since the opening tip on a three from Travis Garrett to make it 41-41 with 8:38 left to play, but four 'Roo free throws and a three pointer from Josh Dickerman put Austin College on top 48-42. Batchelor brought the Warriors to within one at 50-49 with 3:36 to play, but Austin College would score the next five to make it a six point game.
Preston Smith's layup with 27 seconds left cut it to a 57-53 game but Austin College would knock down five free throws in the closing moments to come away with the nine point victory. For Austin College, the 5-0 start to the year is the team's best since transitioning from the NAIA to the NCAA nearly 20 years ago. It also tops the team's most recent best start in 2009-2010, when they opened the year 4-0 en route to winning a program record 20 games.
Brian Baehl recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, adding three assists in the win. Freet and Cedric Hudson each came up just shy of double-doubles of their own, with Freet scoring nine points and grabbing 11 boards, and Hudson chipping in nine points and nine rebounds. Swisher came off the bench to add nine points in the win.
Batchelor and Garrett each scored 10 points to lead Hendrix, as the Warriors finished the game shooting just 28.3% from the field and 42.9% from the free throw line.
Austin College athletic teams participate as a member of the NCAA Division III and the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.