Sherman, Texas - The Trinity men's basketball team opened its Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule Tuesday with a 75-71 victory over Austin (TX) College, getting its first win of the season.
Trinity led from the start and built that lead to 10 points with just under 14 minutes left in the opening period. A minute later, Austin rattled off 10 unanswered points to tie the game 19-19 at the midway point of the first half.
The Tigers broke the run on its next possession, but the Kangaroos remained in control to pull in front 28-23 with 6:01 left. Austin maintained the five-point margin with a three-pointer as the clock ticked under two minutes to go, but Trinity scored the final five points of the half to tie the game 35-35 at the break.
The teams went back and forth to start the second half, but Austin broke a 43-43 tie with a pair of baskets and then went back in front by five (50-45) with a three-pointer with 14:57 left in the game. Trinity got back within one, but Austin answered with a pair of baskets to jump in front by six points. The Tigers traded baskets with the 'Roos over the next four minutes, then a dunk from Isaiah Specks started a 6-0 run that tied the game 61-61 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Austin crept out to a 68-64 lead with 2:47 remaining, but Specks hit a three-pointer to close the gap, then nailed another shot with 1:20 left to put Trinity in front 69-68. The 'Roos answered with a basket of their own to reclaim the lead with just 57 seconds left. Danny Rivara was fouled on Trinity's next possession and his free throws made it a 71-70 Tiger lead with 45 seconds to play.
The 'Roos missed a potential go-ahead shot with 24 seconds to go, with Specks collecting the rebound and getting fouled. He hit both foul shots to put Trinity ahead 73-70 with just 23 seconds left. Holding a three-point lead in the waning seconds, Trinity then fouled with five seconds left to keep Austin from tying the game. The 'Roos intentionally missed the second shot to try and get the board and tie the game, but Rivara snatched the rebound and was fouled immediately. He then hit two foul shots to with four seconds to go and sealed the Tiger victory.
The Tigers claimed their first win of the season and improved to 1-7 and 1-0 SCAC. The Kangaroos dropped to 4-5 and 0-1 in conference play.
Danny Rivara came off the bench and paced four Tiger players in double figures, scoring a personal season-best 16 points, while bringing down nine rebounds.
Isaiah Specks came from the bench and chipped in 15 points on 6-10 shooting from the field, while grabbing five boards. Aaron Knopp added 11 points and seven rebounds, while Tyler Peavy had a 10-point game.
AJ Clark led the team with four assists and contributed eight points to the winning cause.
Trinity scored its second-highest point total of the season and shot a season-best 47.4% from the field. The Tiger defense also held Austin to just 9-25 (36%) shooting from beyond the arc and forced 12 turnovers.
The Tiger bench was especially effective, outscoring the Austin College subs 23-8 in the second half and 38-23 overall in the game.
Trinity concludes its SCAC road trip with a 4:00 p.m. matchup against Centenary (LA) College in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Wednesday.