Photo by Matthew Claybrook
In their final home game of the season, Trinity Men’s Basketball earned redemption against the University of Dallas. When the Tigers first faced the Crusaders in January, Dallas pulled through with a 73–64 win. Thanks to effective shooting from the Tigers, last Saturday’s game was a much different story as Trinity emerged victorious with a 68–55 victory.
Ross Burt, assistant coach, explained that the team’s preparation for the game was adjusted because the team had already competed during the week.
“It was a short week of practice before Saturday’s Senior Night game because we played on Tuesday at Schreiner. We got a good practice in on Thursday, and our guys will had their annual ‘throwback’ practice on Friday, with it being more focused on shooting and game scout,” Burt said.
Tyler Peavy, junior guard, believes that the team’s mentality and strong start early in the first half proved crucial to the overall result.
“There was just a lot of excitement going into the game against Dallas. We had a good week of practice and also it was Senior Night, so we wanted to give the seniors a win at their last game at home. From the start of the game, we came out strong and just had good energy the entire time. I had a good feeling pretty early in the game that we were going to win,” Peavy said.
For the first five minutes of play, neither team was able to gain a lead greater than three points until a layup by Danny Rivara, senior forward, brought the Tigers ahead 15–10. Trinity maintained their lead until a three-point field goal by Dallas pulled the Crusaders ahead by two points. The Tigers quickly recovered as a layup by first-year guard Ben Hanley tied the game at 19–19. In a strong offensive push at the end of the first half, Trinity outscored Dallas by 13 points in the final 11 minutes to finish the half with a 34–21 lead.
Five minutes into the second half, Trinity increased their lead to 20 points after senior forward Aaron Knopp landed a two-point jump shot. Two successful free throw attempts by senior guard Taylor Kim increased the point differential even further, and the Tigers found themselves ahead 49–27.
“Unfortunately I started the game pretty badly, so I quickly became very anxious about having a terrible last home game. However, as the game went on, I was able to calm down and follow my team,” Kim said.
Late in the second half, Dallas made a 15–2 run to bring the score to 63–52 with five minutes left to play. To close out the game, the Trinity defense forced five turnovers to seal the win at 68–55.
Overall, Rivara was the leading scorer with 22 points, while Kim led with three assists and first-year guard AJ Clark recorded five steals. Given their victory, the Tigers improved their season record to 6–19 on the season and 6–10 in conference play. Additionally, seniors Taylor Kim, Danny Rivara, Aaron Knopp, Kevin Owens and Matthew Colliflower closed out their final home game with a win.
“The seniors have been great, and I have loved getting to know them and play with them for the last three years. When I came in my freshman year, that group helped me get adjusted to basketball and school and really made me feel welcome. They will definitely be missed next year, but I’m glad I can have one last ride with them as we work to get a conference championship this weekend,” Peavy said.
Pat Cunningham, head coach, similarly appreciates the impact that the class of 2019 has had on the program.
“Both as a group and as individuals, the seniors have grown in their four years at Trinity. Each has their own story and has contributed greatly to the program at different times and stages. Each has worked in their own way to be good teammates and productive members of the Trinity basketball program. We will miss each and every one of them. We hope they remember their time at Trinity with fondness and remember the successes and the failures and learn from each. We hope they will return to campus and share their wisdom and experiences with future Trinity basketball players,” Cunningham said.
Peavy personally gave thanks to his teammates and supporters for their role in helping him recover from an injury he sustained last season.
“I just want to thank my team and coaches for still believing in me after having to sit out all last season due to injury. They have been really supportive in my return this year. I’d also like to give a big shout-out to the women’s team’s coach, Jillian Cready, as she is an inspiration in how she coaches her team and also gives me confidence when I need it most,” Peavy said.
The Trinity team earned a spot in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships, where the sixth-seeded Tigers will take on the third seed in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 22, in Seguin.
“We plan on taking the week to scout and prepare ourselves for that team specifically, making note of their plays and tendencies as well as fine tuning our game plan. We’re here to stay positive and stay together. We believe we can win this tournament, and it’s just time to go to work. In my four years here, we have never won a SCAC tournament, so that right there is my No. 1 goal,” Kim said.