Tigers defeat Southwestern 79-68 on Friday before falling 80-70 to TLU on Saturday

The Trinity men’s basketball team played a pair of games over the three-day weekend against two conference rivals. After defeating Southwestern in the Friday’s contest, the Tigers fell to Texas Lutheran the following night in Seguin. With an overall record of seven wins and eight losses, and a conference record of two wins and two losses, the Tigers are hoping to make a timely push for the coveted SCAC championship.

The Tigers were coming off a home loss to Centenary College on Jan. 7 when they arrived in Georgetown to battle the Pirates. They started well in the first half, amassing a double-digit lead. Notably, the Tigers’ defense held the Pirates to only 22 percent from the field. Although the Pirates staged a late rally to make it an eight-point game, the Tigers held on to win, ending at 79-68.

Junior forward Jayden Holden continued his season’s strong performance, recording what was at the time his second straight double-double, with 15 points and 12 rebounds. These numbers brought his season’s statistics to 13.8 ppg and 9 rpg. While impressed with the team’s cohesive play, Holden offered some criticism of their effort when the going gets tough.

“As a team, we have moved the ball well and really worked as a team on the offense and defensive end. Something we need to improve upon is keeping the energy up when things aren’t going our way. Things don’t always go your way on the court sometimes, and staying positive is key in stopping teams’ runs and being a successful team,” Holden said.

In addition to Holden’s solid night, first-year guard Brooks Mays finished with 27 points on 11-11 from the free throw line, and sophomore forward Danny Rivara contributed 16 points and 9 rebounds.

The Tigers faced the Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs the next day. The Bulldogs controlled the first half from the onset, embarking on an 11-2 run with nine minutes remaining, and lead 36-26 at the break.

The Tigers floundered early in the second half, allowing the Bulldogs to jump out to a 14-point lead. Trinity fought back, bringing the score to within seven points with eight minutes left, but the Bulldogs maintained their distance, winning 80-70 behind senior forward Zach Behr’s 32 points. Despite the loss, several Trinity players achieved stellar individual performances, particularly junior point guard Matt Jones and Rivara.

Jones scored a season high 21 points, ending his night 8-12 from the field, including 3-4 on three-pointers, six assists and a pair of steals. Like Holden, Jones praised the team’s unselfishness

“I think we have played well, but not our best yet. Each weekend we have had a good game and then just an OK game. It’s conference time, now, though and every game you play needs to be a good one if you hope to win,” Jones said.

Jones added that the team’s lack of consistency is an issue that needs to be remedied if the team is to be a conference contender.

“We have done a good job playing together as a team, and some good individual performances, but night in and night out we have played well together. We can improve our consistency as individuals. That is an important part of developing into a conference contender,

Rivara expressed some frustration with the team’s lackadaisical play against TLU as contrasted with their more inspired play against  Southwestern.

“Against Southwestern on Friday straight from the jump, you could see heart and hustle coming from the whole team. We were all going after boards and loose balls. Everyone was locked in on defense and we did a really good job of not letting our offense get stagnant. Against TLU on Saturday, we didn’t really do any of that. We let one of their guys get hot early because we weren’t defending him properly, we weren’t crashing the boards and we weren’t coming up with the 50/50 balls,” Rivara said. “As for the offensive end, our offense got stagnant at times and the ball wasn’t being reversed quick enough and that’s when we’re at our worst, so that definitely didn’t help.”

Regardless of the weekend’s split, the Tigers are confident that they can make a run at the SCAC title. They will play at Colorado College tonight, before returning to Texas for tomorrow’s matchup at the University of Dallas.