Trinity Advances to SCAC Title Game With Win Over Rhodes
Birmingham, Alabama - The Tiger men's basketball team advanced to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship game with a 74-66 win over Rhodes College on Saturday afternoon.
Trinity's 10th consecutive win improved the team's overall record to 19-8 this season, and gave the Tigers their second win over Rhodes this season. Trinity beat Rhodes 66-50 in San Antonio on January 27.
The Tigers controlled the game most of the first half, opening up a 10-point lead (20-10) with 12:24 remaining. Though Rhodes cut into the lead various times throughout the half, it wasn't until the final minutes that the Lynx used a 14-2 run to take their first lead of the game with just over two minutes left until halftime. Trinity scored five straight points in the final 68 seconds to steal a 37-36 halftime lead, though.
The second half was a classic back-and-forth game throughout, as neither team led by more than three points until the very end. Rhodes tied the game for the 13th time - the 11th time just in the second half - with 4:45 remaining, then took a two-point lead (66-64) less than a minute later.
Those would be the last points of the game for Rhodes, though, as Trinity held the Lynx scoreless over the final 3:53 to close out the win. The Tigers quickly reclaimed the lead with a three-pointer from Zach Lambert, then got another basket with 1:32 left to make it 69-66. Trinity made 5-6 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds to ice the game.
Lambert finished with a game-high 22 points on 6-11 shooting. He hit 2-5 from three-point range, and 8-10 at the free throw line. Lambert also added six rebounds, and led the team in both assists (6) and steals (3).
Ryan Beall had another solid game as well for the Tigers, collecting a team-best nine rebounds to go with 15 points on 6-11 shooting. Robert Kitzinger poured in 17 points on 5-11 shooting. Kitzinger and Beall both hit 3-6 from beyond the arc.
Jonathan Wilt chipped in with six points and six rebounds, while Heath Hopson had six points off the bench for Trinity.
John Dunavant and Andrew Galow scored 19 points each to lead Rhodes, accounting for more than half of the team's total points.
Trinity advances to face Centre College in the SCAC Championship tomorrow, and the two teams will tip off at noon. The winner will be conference champion, and will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.