March 7, 2009

Courtesy UTD Athletics

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (03.07.09) – The UT Dallas men's basketball team will advance to the "Sweet 16" in the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament after smoothering Trinity University, 70-54 Saturday night.

The Comets (25-4) will face Capital University (OH) in the first game of a four-team sectional playoff tournament next Friday and Saturday, March 13-14, at a site to be announced. UTD has put in a bid to host the sectional and will learn Sunday if it is selected.

UTD advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the first time in program history Saturday with a smothering defensive showing against the Tigers, who entered the game at 24-4 with a first-round 68-64 win over Maryville (TN) under their belt. The Comets' trapping zone defense held the Tigers to just 27 percent shooting (15-of-55) for the game, giving up just six baskets total inside the 3-point arch. Trinity scored 27 of its points with 3-pointers and was 15-of-20 at the free throw line.

The Comets, meanwhile, took the ball right at the Trinity defense, scoring 44 points in the paint, including 12 on fast-break opportunities. UTD shot 48 percent for the game, and were 15-of-26 (58 percent) in the second half when the game was on the line.

The game  was not a one-sided affair until the final 10 minutes, when UTD stopped the Tigers from scoring but one basket from the field (a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining). After falling behind in a back-and-forth game for the sixth time (41-40) at 13:15, the Comets scored seven quick points and started inching ahead.