The Austin College men’s basketball team went cold from the field, shooting just 30.5 percent overall and 20 percent from 3-point range, and fell short of Rust College by a final score of 74-70 on Tuesday night.

The Austin College men’s basketball team went cold from the field, shooting just 30.5 percent overall and 20 percent from 3-point range, and fell short of Rust College by a final score of 74-70 on Tuesday night.


Austin College (4-5) chipped away and cut it to a 47-45 game on a basket by Ransom Okpala early in the second half, but Rust was able to maintain the lead throughout the second period. The ‘Roos were never able to pull closer than a two point margin, but had some strong opportunities late after pulling to within 69-67 with just over a minute left, and 72-70 after an Okpala 3 with 47 seconds left.


The ‘Roos forced a turnover on the ensuing Rust possession, but Okpala’s 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining just missed and the Bearcats would add a pair of free throws down the stretch to ice the game.


Jeremy Swisher connected on three triples on his way to 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Okpala finished with 14 points and five boards as the only other ‘Roo in double digits. Kevin Graham finished with eight points for the ‘Roos, who hit just 8-of-40 3-pointers in the game.


The ‘Roos jumped out to an early 11-2 lead helped largely by a pair of 3s from Graham and Swisher, but Rust stormed back to take a 12-11 lead with 14:51 on the clock. Threes from Jordan Hancock and Okpala put Austin College back on top 17-12 with 13:40 left, but Rust fought back to grab a 25-23 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the opening half.


The lead grew to 29-23 before a Graham three and a pair of free throws from Okpala, but Rust pushed the margin back to 37-28 with 6:37 left. The ‘Roos made a late run in the first half capped off by an Okpala bucket to knot things at 37 with 2:12 left, but a 7-2 run by the Bearcats made it a 44-39 game at halftime.