San Antonio - The Tiger men's basketball team lost an 87-83 game to Concordia (TX) University in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday night.
Trinity fell to 20-8 on the season, while Concordia improved to 24-5. The Tornados are playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, after winning their first American Southwest Conference Championship last weekend. The Tigers qualified for the second straight season after winning back-to-back Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles.
The Tigers were able to cut a 14-point lead down to three in the second half, and had a chance to tie the game with 2:09 to play. Robert Kitzinger's tying three rimmed out, though, and Concordia was able to hang on for the win.
Concordia led 49-41 at the half in a fast-paced game that featured both teams shooting 50% or better from the field. The Tornados shot 53.6% from the floor for the game, while Trinity finished at 51.7% shooting.
Zach Lambert led all scorers with 20 points and all players with 10 rebounds for the Tigers. He also led the team with five assists and two steals, hitting 7-14 from the field and 3-5 three-pointers.
Heath Hopson poured in 17 points on 6-9 shooting off the bench, collecting five boards as well. Kitzinger hit 4-9 three-pointers on his way to 16 points and eight rebounds, and also handed out four assists. David Lacey also came off the bench with nine points in 16 minutes.
Nick Haynes led five Concordia players in double figures with 15 points on the night, hitting 4-8 three-pointers. He scored seven straight with under five minutes to play to put Concordia up 82-72, but the Tigers rallied to within three a few minutes later. Dwayne Patterson finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, while Josh Sanchez had 12 points and nine assists in the game.
Concordia moves on to face the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round of the tournament, while the Tigers are eliminated from the postseason.
Head Coach Pat Cunningham led Trinity to 20 or more wins for the eighth time in his 14 seasons with the team, and for the 11th time in program history. Coach Cunningham has made eight appearances in the NCAA Playoffs with the Tigers, and has led the team to six SCAC titles.