Men’s basketball team topples University of Dallas and Colorado College to take first place in the SCAC

The Trinity men’s basketball team secured their lead in SCAC standings after two wins over University of Dallas and Colorado College this past weekend.

The University of Dallas game, which took place on Friday, Jan. 24, was originally slated to start at six o’clock, but had to be pushed back to accommodate the Tigers, who had spent most of their day traveling through icy conditions from San Antonio to Irving.

“We are making the necessary strides to improve each week.  There is still plenty of room to improve, but we like the effort and focus that our guys have brought the past two weekends,” said assistant men’s basketball coach Ross Burt.

Trinity rode the hot hand of senior guard Robert Kitzinger, who opened the scoring by drilling a three after stealing the ball from Dallas. A few minutes later, his second three gave the Tigers their largest lead in the first half at 12-7. For his efforts, Kitzinger had 12 at the half but the Tigers trailed by two, 26-24.

Dallas pulled away by six (46-40) with 10:41 to play in the game, but Trinity roared back with a jumper from senior guard Joe Shotland, a free throw from sophomore guard Jimmy Clark and a game-tying three from junior guard William Young. Dallas retook the lead with 6:25 left to play, but Trinity would once again go on a run as Kitzinger hit a pair of free throws, Shotland drained a three, and senior guard Matt Selling buried a jumper with just over four minutes to play. The Tigers would hold from there as Kitzinger scored Trinity’s final six points to give him 33 (10-12 field goals) on the night and close out the home team.

Clark finished with seven points, while Young, Selling and Shotland added five each. Kitzinger also led the Tigers in rebounds with six and senior post John LaVanway added five. Young dished out five assists. The final score was 64-59.

“We have been playing better of late.  That is always a good thing.  We are now working at continuing this consistency of effort and performance.  Yes, we are very hopeful that we can continue to play well and be at our best for the conference tournament,” Kitzinger said.

The men wrapped up their Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference road weekend with a 63-48 victory over Colorado College on Saturday.

Trinity (11-7, 6-1 SCAC) now leads Schreiner University by a half-game after the game’s result, which marked the fourth consecutive victory for the Tigers.  Colorado College dropped to 12-4 and 5-2 SCAC standings.

“I feel pretty good about the winning streak, and hope that we can continue playing well down the road. We have a tough weekend this weekend against Dallas and Colorado, both of which we played last weekend,” LaVanway said. “We’ve got a tough road ahead of us over the next month, and I know this team is ready to continue making strides in the right direction.”

The Trinity Tigers jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first half, and led 28-20 at the half. Colorado College never led in the game, but came within four points (46-50) with 5:33 remaining in the second half. Trinity pushed that to a double-digit lead on Kitzinger’s three-pointer just over two minutes later.

Kitzinger led the team with 20 points in the game, hitting 7-12 from the field, and 4-6 in three-point range. He also had five rebounds, and stands 21 three-point baskets away from tying Rich Skeen’s career record (set from 1990-1994).

Senior forward Zach Lambert contributed 11 points and a team-leading six rebounds. Lambert also shelled out three assists, and chalked up three steals. LaVanway scored nine points and pulled in five rebounds.

“It’s been great playing here over the last 4 years. The coaches have been good to me, and I wouldn’t trade the groups of guys I’ve played with here at Trinity for anything. I am happy I have had such an awesome experience here so far, and I look forward to finishing this season strongly. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to win the conference tournament, and I would like to make a push into the NCAA,”  LaVanway said.

Trinity will conclude its regular-season home schedule next weekend, playing the same teams as this past weekend.  Dallas comes to campus for a 6:00 p.m. game on Friday, while Colorado College visits Trinity for a game at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.