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Texas Lutheran roars back to SCAC Championship title game, upsets No. 2 seed Austin College

Sebastian Andrade (photo courtesy of the SCAC)
Sebastian Andrade (photo courtesy of the SCAC)

KERRVILLE, Texas -- Behind a 38-point outburst from junior shooting guard Sebastian Andrade, the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs returned to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship title game for the fifth time in six years after upsetting No. 2 seed Austin College 79-72 in Saturday's second semifinal game.

Box Score | Official Tournament Website | Post-game interview w/Texas Lutheran

Andrade's outburst tied the second-most points ever scored in a SCAC men's tournament game. Andrew Maddock of Colorado College had 46 in a 2016 tournament game against Austin College.

Andrade made 19 of 21 free throws, coming within three made free throws of Jerald Reiner's school record (22 for 26) in 1994 against Texas Wesleyan.

Andrade's 19 made free throws are tied with Ryan Milne of Colorado College (in a 2/28/14 game against Dallas) as the most in a single game in men's tournament history.

The Bulldogs improved to 16-11 overall and defeated Austin College for the first time in three tries this season. The Kangaroos closed out their season with an overall record of 14-12.

TLU, the No. 3 seed, will face Centenary College (La.), the top seed in a noon championship game at Schreiner University. Centenary defeated host Schreiner 76-70 on Saturday afternoon. Centenary has won nine games in a row.

The Bulldogs and Gents split their 2019-20 meetings, with each team winning on the other's home court.

Sunday's game will be a rematch of the 2015 SCAC Championship - won by TLU on March 1, 2015, five years ago to the day on Sunday. That title was TLU's first SCAC Tournament championship.

The Bulldogs have won four of the last five SCAC Championships. The last two have come with current head coach Mike Wacker at the helm.

In Saturday's semifinal game TLU led by as much as 13 in the first half before Austin College closed the final 7:24 on a 21-8 run to knot the score at 35 at the half.

In the opening half, Austin College shot 50.0 percent (15-30) from the field to TLU's 36.4 percent (12-33), but two more three-pointers and four more free throws from the Bulldogs accounted for the tie game.

After finishing the regular season eighth in the conference in free throw shooting, TLU was close to automatic from the line, hitting 22 of 26 for 84.6 percent.

The game was tied eight times and the lead exchanged hands six more, with most of the back-and-forth occurring in the second half.

A layup by the 'Roos Devin Roland cut the TLU lead to one at 64-63 with 3:16 remaining, but the Bulldogs went on a 8-2 run over the next two minutes of clock time. Austin College would not get closer than five the rest of the way.

  • Michael Holland: 17 points, four rebounds, three assists
  • Justice Mercadel: 15 points, four rebounds
  • Devin Roland: 13 points, three rebounds, three assists
  • Roman Strickland: 12 points, 10 rebounds, two blocks
  • Texas Lutheran advances to its fifth championship game in the last six years. Only Centre (eight) and Trinity (seven) have been to more SCAC men's title games.
  • Texas Lutheran is 4-0 in those previous championship appearances, including last year's 99-95 double overtime win against Dallas.
  • Since the SCAC went to a six-team bracket in 2013, only one team has won three games in three days to take the conference crown and that was Texas Lutheran in 2017. This year's edition of the Bulldogs will attempt to become the second.
  • Greg Ross of Centre (2/25/11 vs. Hendrix) and Jonathan Blount of Centenary (3/1/14 vs. Schreiner) are the other players who have scored 38 points in a SCAC tournament game.
  • The number two seed earned by Austin College was its highest since being the West Division top seed at the 2010 championships.
  • The 'Roos loss as the No. 2 seed in the semifinal round is the first time the No. 2 has not advanced to the title game since Colorado College in 2017.
Texas Lutheran (16-11) advances to play top-seeded Centenary in tomorrow's men's championship game. Tip for the title game is scheduled for Noon CT and will be played at the Athletic and Events Center on the campus of Schreiner University. The last time the two played in the SCAC tournament was in the semifinals of the 2018 event when Centenary eliminated TLU - which is the only time the Bulldogs haven't made the title game in the last six years.