RICHARDSON, Texas — Hardin-Simmons’ men’s basketball team fell 79-68 to Texas-Dallas in the American Southwest Conference Championship game on Sunday afternoon at the UTD Activities Center in Richardson.
The game lived up to the billing between the top two teams. HSU jumped out to a 13-5 lead but the Comets came right back with a 13-3 run to take an 18-16 lead.
The Cowboys battled back again and took a 33-26 lead with 2:04 to play in the half, but UTD scored the final 10 points of the half to take a 36-33 lead when Matthew Medell hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Comets never let HSU take the lead in the second half. Every time the Cowboys pulled close UTD made a big shot. HSU trailed 58-54 and got a steal but did not convert the fast break that would have cut it two and Kyle Schleigh answered with a 3-pointer to make it 61-54 with 5:11 to play.
Dmitry Chernikov hit a prayer at the end of the shot clock that banked in to take the lead to 69-60 with 2:52 to play and the Comets sealed the deal down the stretch. Derrick Jefferson’s 19th and 20th points of the second half cut the deficit to 70-66 with 1:25 to play, but Medell hit a jumper at the end of the shot clock.
Medell, who hit big shot after big shot, led five Comets in double figures with 21 points. Chernikov had 16 points and tournament MVP Kyle Schleigh had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Jefferson led the Cowboys with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists. John Barnes had 13 points and Titus Mims added 12 points for HSU.
Jefferson became the first played in American Southwest Conference history to be named to three ASC all-tournament teams. Titus Mims also was named to the all-tournament team.
HSU closes its season with a 19-9 record and UT-Dallas improved to 25-3 overall and will advance to the NCAA Tournament.