IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's basketball team closed out 2019 with an 85-71 setback to Eureka College in non-conference action at the Maher Center on Monday night. Dallas (4-5) dipped below .500 for the first time this season and have dropped five in a row since the blistering start. The Crusaders only trailed by six (32-26) at halftime despite being outshot 36.1 percent to 30.3 percent, but could not keep up with the Red Devils (7-3) who shot 47.4 percent (36-76) overall that was helped by a tough defense.
The Crusaders overcame a slow start with Isaiah Hayes (Arlington, Texas) responsible for the first five UD points of the game. Seven minutes into play, Matt Holloway (Melissa, Texas) drained a three-pointer to ignite a 12-2 run for the home team and open its largest lead of the contest about midway through. John Russell (Bossier City, La.) had the go-ahead layup to make it 12-11 with 11:08 left in the first half. Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth, Texas) put in an old fashioned three-point play and Jacob Giunta (Keller, Texas) followed a quick miss by Eureka to make a trey of his own and cap the run less than a minute later.
The Red Devils were propelled back ahead moments later with 12 straight points highlighted by Dakota Bennington stealing and finishing a big dunk. Overall, Eureka used a 16-2 run over a four-minute span. Mathis pulled UD within six with 1:10 minutes before intermission for the final points by either side.
It was back-and-fort out of the gate in the second half. Scott Bolen (Houston, Texas), who notched a career-best 13 points, made a trey to pull UD to a 36-34 deficit. The Red Devils surged to their first double-digit advantage at 46-36. Bolen finished with a personal-best three trifectas and had another one that frame to make it 47-41 with just under five minutes into the period. J'Len Crawford countered with a three and after a UD turnover, the Red Devils got a block and despite two missed treys would have Chris Daniels follow the second miss with a tip-in to push the edge back to double-digits.
Dallas surged one more time with a three by Holloway and Mathis swiping a steal and finishing a layup to pull the hosts within six (54-48). Holloway found Mathis for a three that made it a five-point game (56-51) and 11 and a half minutes remaining. Eureka rattled off 12 consecutive points to put the final momentum in the game. Two free throws by Cameran Hyde (Missouri City, Texas) and Giunta got UD back to trailing by eight, but the Red Devils finished the game on a strong note.
The Crusaders ended up shooting 36.2 percent (25-69) from the field but did have another game where the team made double figures from three with 11 as a team. It is the fifth time this season and third game in a row. A trio of games also have seen the squad make nine trifectas. Leading the offense was Mathis with 15 points and dishing a season-best nine assists (career-best was 11 from 2018-19 against Southwestern University – Jan. 12). Hyde contributed 14 points from the bench and Bolen reached double-digits for the first time in his career thanks to 11 in the second stanza. Giunta grabbed a personal-high 11 rebounds and led all individuals.
Eureka collected 50 boards with 17 from the offensive glass, while Dallas only had 36. The Red Devils only shot 28.6 percent (6-21) from three, but had a 3-5 showing from Bennington who was the star with 25 points on 11-18 overall shooting. Austin Juergens grabbed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ian Milsteadt was another big scorer with 18 points. Kyler Stork matched a team-high 10 boards. The Red Devils combined for eight blocks and displayed a 17-7 edge on fastbreak points. The real difference for points came in the paint with Eureka holding a 50-24 lead. UD posted a 25-22 advantage in bench points.
Bolen did make his first career start and played a season-long 26 minutes. Holloway easily played the most in his freshman year with 27 minutes.
Dallas ends up 4-3 in non-conference game on the season as it turns its attention to Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) play the remainder of the campaign. League play resumes on January 3-4 at Johnson & Wales University and Colorado College on respective dates.