Crusaders come back to beat Wildcats

Charles Young and Ricky Poole
Charles Young and Ricky Poole

DENVER – The Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team was unable to hold to a 10-point halftime lead Friday night at the Wildcat Center, falling 59-58 to the University of Dallas in a back-and-forth SCAC matchup.

The Wildcats (2-10, 1-4) shot 48.1 percent in the first half to build a 31-21 advantage but saw the Crusaders (5-5, 1-2) quickly erase the deficit in the first seven minutes of the second frame. Dallas built a seven-point cushion before JWU Denver rallied to make it a one-point game multiple times down the stretch, including after a 3-pointer by Andray Thomas Jr. with 9 seconds left.

Dallas missed the ensuing one-and-one, giving the Wildcats a chance to win it on the final possession. Sophomore Charles Young got off a clean look with a running 3 just before the buzzer, but his attempt just missed to preserve the Dallas victory.

Thomas Jr. led all players with 24 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists while freshman Kaleb Atherley had 19 points and nine rebounds. Michael Wambsganss paced the Crusaders with 21 points.

The Wildcats finished with a 38-29 rebounding advantage, one of their better efforts on the glass this season, but were outscored 10-5 at the free throw line and 27-15 from behind the arc.

JWU returns to the Wildcat Center on Saturday to host Austin College at 4 p.m.