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Pirates Use Big Second Half to Top 'Roos

Pirates Use Big Second Half to Top 'Roos

SHERMAN, Texas –The Austin College men's basketball team went cold in the second half and Southwestern out-scored the 'Roos 37-23 after the break on the way to an 81-63 final on Friday night in Hughey Gym. The 'Roos fall to 6-8 overall and 2-3 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.

Southwestern got off to a red-hot start, going up 15-2 less than five minutes into the game. However, Justice Mercadel scored eight straight to cut it to a 17-10 game and Kam Hogan added four quick points as Austin College continued to chip away at the lead. Kameron Hill's three pulled the 'Roos to within 22-17 with 8:14 left in the opening half, and a three-point-play by Hogan squared things up at 23-23 a minute and a half later. 

After the Pirates took a 28-24 lead, the 'Roos responded with an 11-0 run capped off by a bucket from Hogan to give Austin College a 35-28 lead with 4:04 left in the half. Southwestern would respond with an 11-1 run, going on top 39-36 with 1:52 on the clock. Austin College cut it to a 41-40 game but Southwestern's Ryan Wheeler hit a three at the buzzer to give the Pirates a 44-40 lead at halftime.

The 'Roos took a 47-46 lead early in the second half, but that's when the offense began to stall and Southwestern countered with a 14-2 run to surge ahead 60-49 with 12:11 left in the game. Jaylyn Cleamons scored to cut it to a nine-point game, but five quick points for the Pirates pushed the lead back to double-digits. Derek Lockman's three made it 67-58 with seven and a half minutes to go but that's as close as the 'Roos would get the rest of the way. 

The Pirates would use a 13-0 run over the next five and a half minutes to put the game away, extending the lead to 81-58 with 1:45 left on the clock.  

Mercadel finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists to lead the 'Roos and Hogan finished with 11 points and six boards. Michael Holland posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Austin College finished the game connecting on just 38% from the field, including 5-of-22 from long distance.

Brandon Alexander scored 23 points to lead all scorers, and Wheeler had 21 points and 13 rebounds, knocking down 4-of-8 from deep. Jake Holmes chipped in 16 points for the Pirates.

Austin College is back in action tomorrow as the 'Roos host Texas Lutheran with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m.