Men's Basketball Drops Season Opener
Nov 8, 2018
DECATUR, Ill. – The University of Dubuque men’s basketball team began the 2018-19 season with a hard fought road loss at Millikin, falling to the Big Blue 76-71.
The Spartans had some early season rust in the opening minutes, as the Millikin Big Blue stormed out tot a 24-15 lead with 10:50 left in the first half but then the Spartans began to click. UD would go on a 15-4 run over the next 4:41 to grab the lead at 30-27 after a Marcus McDaniel three. The Spartans would continue to push the tempo as they took a 39-35 lead at the half, outscoring Millikin 24-11 over the final 10:38.
Michael Williams and Marcus McDaniels paced the Spartans furious flurry in the latter part of the second half, combining for 23 points with Williams leading the way with 13 at the break.
The Big Blue scored the first four points of the second half to tie the score up at 39-39 a minute into the half and the two teams would exchange leads for the next several minutes before Millikin hit on two free throws with 11:33 remaining. It looked as if Millikin might pull away as they pushed their lead to six with 9:30 remaining but the Spartans would not go away.
UD cranked up the defense, holding the Big Blue to two points over the following 6:05 to cut their deficit to 62-61 with 2:25 remaining before two Millikin free throws helped the Big Blue get their offense going again. The Spartans would not be able to get back within one possession for the rest of the game as Millikin took advantage of the over aggressive Spartans defense and converted on their free throws.
A key difference in the game came at the free throw line, each team got to the charity stripe 28 times but UD made just 15 (53.6%), while Millikin was in the bonus for the final 10 minutes and made 26-28 (92.9%) free throws. Despite the loss, the Spartans outshot the Big Blue from the field at 47.1% to 38.3% but Millikin dominated the offensive glass by a 14-6 margain. UD even made eight threes, doubling up Millikin’s makes from beyond the arc.
After dominating the first half, McDaniels and Williams were limited in the second half. McDaniels finished with a team-high 16 points, while Williams scored just two second half points to finish with 15. In his first game as a Spartan, Avery Butler produced a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Spartans will host their first home game of the season on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against Greenville.