Pirates Hold Off Comets Behind Huge First Half

Pirates Hold Off Comets Behind Huge First Half

RICHARDSON, Texas - The Southwestern University men's basketball team used a huge first half to lead by as many as 26 points and held off a huge rally from the Texas-Dallas Comets to earn an 80-77 road win on Saturday afternoon at the UTD Activity Center.

The Pirates shot 29 of 55 from the field (53%) and 10 of 23 (44%) from behind the arch. The Comets shot 35% from the field on 25 of 71 shooting and 7 of 24 from three (29%). The Pirates outrebounded the Comets 43-36, but turned the ball over 21 times to only seven by UTD.

"Having 20 assists on 29 made shots is what we are looking for out of our offense," said Head Coach Janson Hightower. "We won the boards by 7 which has been a strong point for us thus far."

After a quick 3-0 deficit, Southwestern outscored the Comets 26-8 thoughout the next 12 minutes to take a 26-11 lead. It was all Pirates throughout the first half, shooting 18 of 30 (60%) from the field including 7 of 11 from deep to lead by as many as 26 points, taking a 47-23 lead at the break.

"The first half of this game we saw what the 2017-18 team is capable of - great ball movement, knockdown shooting plus long and tough defensively," said Hightower. "UTD made a great adjustment to go to a 1-3-1 zone the second half. We struggled some against the zone and got sped up a few times against it which led to easy points for them."

It would be a different story in the second half as Texas-Dallas used the entire second half to creep back into the game. Southestern cooled down, but still shot 11 of 25 (44%) from the field, but turned the ball over 14 times while the Comets only turned it over two times, coverting seven 3-pointers and shooting 47% from the field.

With 53 seconds remaining in the game, Texas-Dallas got a layup to even the game at 76 a piece. Sophomore Brandon Alexander forced a foul with 29 seconds remaining and converted both free throws to push the lead by two.

"I was proud of how we made some defensive stands, grabbed some tough rebounds, and made clutch free throws to close out the game," said Hightower. "Any win on the road is great but we did it against a senior-led team in UTD who runs very good offense and played an effective zone defense the second half." 

The Comets got to the free throw line and converted 1-of-2 while Alexander and senior Ryan Ogden each hit a free throw to go with great defense to earn the win.

Alexander scored a career-high 26 points off the bench on 9 of 11 shootings and 3 of 4 from deep to go with six rebounds and six assists. Ogden scored 18 points to go with 12 rebounds for a double-double along with three assists, two blocks and a steal. Sophomore Mike May scored 12 to go with nine boards including five offensive rebounds while sophomore Joel Martinez scored 11 off the bench. 

Sophomore Ryan Wheeler had five assists while sophomore Luke Hicks added four assists and a steal. 

Dimitrius Underwood led UTD with 22 points and seven steals while Jon Hatcher scored 11 points.

The Pirates move to 2-2 overall and have a short turnaround as they return home for a Monday contest against Mary Hardin-Baylor, beginning at 7 PM from the Robertson Center.