A sophomore on the men’s basketball team recorded the second triple-double in school history.
Sophomore guard Dimitrius Underwood had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 18 assists during UTD’s Dec. 29 117-105 victory over the Rhodes College Lynx. His 18 assists set a new ASC record, and Underwood was named the ASC East player of the week on Jan. 2.
“Early in the game, it’s just about getting everybody involved,” Underwood said. “The pace of the game was really fast … so we could just get out and run.”
Fellow teammates were surprised at Underwood’s record-breaking performance. Sophomore forward/center Hans Burwitz did not know that Underwood had enough assists to break the ASC record until after the game was over.
“During the game, we didn’t really know he had so many assists or rebounds or anything because the game was up and down,” Burwitz said. “I helped him get those 18 assists because he just kept passing me and our other teammate Reagan (Keogh) the ball.”
Underwood attributes most of the team’s success to its defensive play. He and his teammates consider themselves to be the best defensive team in the ASC, partially due to the leadership of head coach Terry Butterfield, Underwood said. In addition to this, Underwood believes that the team chemistry has developed over the course of the season.
“Last year we struggled early, but this year we made it a priority to have our identity on defense,” he said. “Playing defense sparked our offense and it just got us out to a much better start.”
Ten of the 13 members on the team are either freshmen or sophomores, who have led the team to their best start in two years. The team got off to a 10-6 start over their first 16 games, compared to 3-13 at the same point in the 2016-2017 season. Experiencing the fast pace of college basketball has been critical in giving the freshmen and sophomores a better understand of the game, said freshman forward Michael Forster.
“There is a learning curve of size, speed and strength,” Forster said. “I’m just trying to learn as much as I can to benefit myself going forward.”
With the regular season ending on Feb. 17, the Comets look to capture its first ASC Championship since 2014. Their emphasis on defense has allowed them to force over five steals, three blocks and 17 points off of turnovers per game. As a result of this, Butterfield’s discipline on defense and emphasis on doing the little things prevents other teams from outscoring them in the games.
“We gameplan better than anyone I’ve ever been with,” Forster said. “We are a special group, so hopefully we can accomplish all of our goals by the end.”