San Antonio – The Tiger men's basketball team salvaged a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference split with a hard-fought 95-90 win over Austin (TX) College on Saturday.
Both teams shot well in the first half, but Trinity connected on 20-22 free throws in the period to grab a 47-41 lead at the break.
The Tigers jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game and pushed the lead to double figures less than seven minutes in.
Austin College rallied several times, getting within one point on several occasions, but Trinity never gave up the lead in the half.
After the intermission, it was Austin that came out firing with an 8-0 run of its own to take a 49-47 lead after just 67 seconds.
Trinity regained control of the game by scoring 11 of the next 13 points, though, and the lead was back to seven (58-51) with more than 15 minutes to play.
Austin battled back to within two (64-62), but the Tigers scored eight straight points to push the lead to 10 at the midway point of the second half.
The lead was still eight with two minutes remaining, but Trinity missed four straight foul shots to start a rally by the visitors. Austin hit three unanswered shots to make it a 90-88 game with 45 seconds remaining, and the Tigers were back at the foul line.
Austin missed another go-ahead three-pointer, and Stephen Molina grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and calmly sank two free throws to keep Trinity in front.
The Kangaroos scored quickly to drop the lead back to two points (92-90) with 23 seconds left. Jayden Holden however hit two more free throws, and the Tiger defense forced a turnover to seal the win.
Trinity improves to 10-7 this season, including a 4-2 SCAC mark. Austin slips to 3-15 overall and 1-5 SCAC.
Danny Rivara tied his career-high with 30 points on 8-16 shooting, as well as hitting 14-17 from the free throw line. He also pulled down seven rebounds and recorded a pair of blocks in his 30 minutes of action.
Rivara's 14 made free throws are tied for the fifth-most in school history, while his 17 attempts are also in the top 10 for a single game.
Jayden Holden finished with 16 points and four rebounds, knocking down 5-8 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line.
Matt Jones was the only other Tiger player to reach double figures, scoring 10 points to go with a team-best six assists.
Trinity will begin its second round of SCAC play next weekend, beginning with a rematch with Centenary (LA) College on January 26, at 5:30 p.m. The Gents defeated the Tigers 77-71 in San Antonio last night.