SHERMAN, Texas – Justice Mercadel poured in 29 points and the Austin College men's basketball team held off Trinity University for an 88-85 victory on Sunday afternoon in Hughey Gym. The 'Roos are now 4-16 overall and 2-7 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
After Trinity scored to open the game, the 'Roos scored 11 unanswered capped by a three from Mercadel to take an 11-2 lead with 15:16 left in the first half. The Tigers began to chip away and a three from Brian Blum cut it to 14-10, but Austin Wells buried a three and Michael Holland scored to push it back to an eight-point game at 20-12 midway through the half.
Jayden Holden scored five quick points to help the Tigers close the gap, and a bucket by Danny Rivara squared things up at 26 apiece with 5:21 left before the break. The Tigers would take their first lead since it was 2-0 on a three from Matt Jones, making it 37-34 with 2:18 on the clock, and Trinity went into halftime leading 39-38.
Kam Hogan put Austin College ahead 41-39 with a three to open up the second half, and Mercadel pumped in seven points to help the 'Roos grab a 52-43 edge with 15:13 left in the game. Trinity fought back and regained the lead at 59-57 with 9:47 remaining, but Wells and Kameron Hill each knocked down a three as Austin College went back on top 63-61 with eight and a half left.
The score was knotted at 74 with three and a half remaining before Austin College got another three from Hill, and the 'Roos would not trail again in the final 3:20 of the game. Hill buried another trey with under a minute remaining to beat the shot clock, and after Trinity responded with a three of their own to cut it to 84-83, Mercadel and Hogan knocked down four of four from the free throw line in the final 16 seconds to ice the game.
Mercadel topped 20 points for the fourth straight game and added 10 rebounds, and Holland finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Hill hit 3-of-4 from deep on his way to 12 points, Hogan added 11 points and seven assists, and Josh Quinn scored 10 as all five starters reached double-digits.
Isaiah Specks came off the bench to score 24 to lead Trinity, and Rivara finished with 14 points and six boards for the Tigers.