GEORGETOWN, Texas – The Southwestern University Pirates swept its weekend homestand against the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference's Colorado teams, defeating the Colorado College Tigers 72-68 to improve to 2-0 in conference.
The Pirates struggled from deep in the first half, shooting 2-for-14 from the 3-point line and 41.7 percent overall from the half with just a single free throw attempt. Cooxooeli Black led Colorado College with 10 first-first half points on 5-for-8 shooting and the Tigers shot 48.1 percent as a team.
Those numbers bely a swarming Southwestern defense that forced eight turnovers, with seven coming off steals, converting the live ball turnovers into transition opportunities.
Black displayed solid footwork and a soft touch both from the post and facing the basket when able to work at his own tempo. The Pirates countered with Trenton Garrett off the bench in his second game back from injury.
Garrett used his tall frame and long arms to hassle Black, swiping entry passes and poking balls loose for four steals and a block, giving the Pirates a boost of energy and a 32-28 lead at halftime.
The Pirates' struggles from long range continued in the second half, hitting just 2-for-8, but they got a dominant performance from Ryan Wheeler after the break, scoring 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting.
Wheeler worked off the dribble, coming off curls, attacking closeouts, and slicing past his defender to get to the rim repeatedly on straight-line drives. Southwestern was able to find the matchups it wanted, committing only three second-half turnovers and getting to the free-throw line 21 times, hitting 14.
Andrew Puhl, in his second start, scored seven second-half points, making his lone field goal attempt and hitting five of his six free-throw attempts. His activity on defense also helped stall Colorado College, playing ball handlers chest-to-chest and rotating to discourage catch-and-shoot opportunities before returning to his man.
Black led the Tigers with 18 points on 9-for-14 shooting with six rebounds and four assists. Scott Cunningham scored 11 points but was just 4-for-13 from the field. Aaron Acosta came off the bench to score 12 points and grab six rebounds.
The Pirates finished with 10 steals, taking a 24-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
With the win, Southwestern improves to 5-5 this season and 2-0 in conference. The Pirates will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 18 with a road game against Texas-Tyler at 3:00 p.m.