Seguin, Texas – Trinity's men's basketball team was edged 64-60 by host Texas Lutheran University in a thrilling Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinal game on Saturday night.
Though the game was close initially, Texas Lutheran used a 14-3 run to open up a 19-9 lead halfway through the opening period.
After Trinity stopped the run with a three-pointer, the Tigers suffered through a scoreless drought that lasted nearly five minutes of game time. The Bulldogs put together a 13-1 scoring run that put the home team in front 32-13 late in the first half.
That's when the Tigers saved the game by keeping Texas Lutheran from scoring over the final 3:21 of the game, finishing the half on a 13-0 run that made it a 32-26 game at the break.
Trinity refused to go away in the second half, answering each Texas Lutheran run with a streak of its own to keep the game within reach. It seemed like every time the Tigers had a chance to catch up, the Bulldogs pushed the lead back to double digits.
Texas Lutheran led 58-48 with 3:55 remaining when Trinity made another late push to finish a period. The Tigers scored nine of the next 10 points to make it a two-point deficit with just 33 seconds remaining.
Trinity had Texas Lutheran scrambling on the ensuing possession, but a Tiger foul put the Bulldogs on the line with 12 seconds to go. Texas Lutheran knocked down both foul shots to push the lead back to four.
The Tigers raced down the court for another quick bucket to get within two, then sent the home team back to the line with just over seven seconds left.
Texas Lutheran hit just 1-2 at the line, giving Trinity the chance for a game-tying three-pointer. Instead, the Bulldogs elected to foul and send the Tigers to the line with a little more than two seconds remaining in the game.
Ben Hanley made the first free throw to make it a 62-60 game, then intentionally missed the second to try and give Trinity a shot at a rebound and a basket to tie, but the Bulldogs came down with the board and put the icing on the win with a pair of foul shots.
Trinity finishes its season with a 7-20 record, advancing to the SCAC Tournament Semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Tigers were also eliminated by the tournament hosts for the third straight year.
Texas Lutheran swept all three games from Trinity this season, though the Tigers still hold an 11-8 overall record against the Bulldogs since the 2000-01 season.
This was the first SCAC Tournament meeting between the two since Trinity hosted the event in 2014 and defeated Texas Lutheran 78-65 in the quarterfinals.
Ben Hanley scored a career-high 13 points to lead four Tiger players in double figures on the night, connecting on 4-7 from the field and 4-6 from the free throw line. Hanley also pulled down seven rebounds on the night.
Danny Rivara was limited to just 19 minutes due to foul trouble, but managed 11 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Trinity shot just 37% from the field in the game, but the defense was outstanding in holding Texas Lutheran to just 35.3% shooting for the contest.
The Tigers had a great night in the paint, outscoring the Bulldogs 28-12 overall and 20-4 in the second half of play.