Esteban BustillosManaging Editor
The men’s basketball team crushed Texas Lutheran 92-77 in their Homecoming season opener.
The Comets were able to control the game from the get-go, outscoring the Bulldogs 47 to 39 in the first half and 45 to 38 in the second half. UTD shot 22 of 53 in the game, making 41.5 percent of their shots.
The contest had several true freshmen and newcomers get substantial playing time for UTD. Freshman guard Caleb Banks played 22 minutes, getting 7 points. Freshman forward Reagan Keogh also saw substantial playing time, earning 8 points in 26 minutes. He also picked up 10 rebounds. Guard Ben Smith added on to the rookie statistics with 6 points and 2 rebounds.
Another notable newcomer was senior guard Rafael Farley, who transferred this year from Abilene Christian. He had 13 points and 4 rebounds in the contest.
Head coach Terry Butterfield said the experience of playing in a game was invaluable for the younger players.
“All the young kids want to get in there and participate and that’s what I would want from them,” Butterfield said. “But not everybody is going to be in the ball game and play in the ball game … I think that for where the kids are in terms of learning our system, we had some good moments. We’ve got to build on the good and correct the bad and there was plenty of both.”
The win was Butterfield’s 400th career victory.
Other key players included senior guard Matt Medell, who picked up 10 points and 2 assists, and senior guard Zach Helmberger, who had 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
The standout player for the Comets was senior guard Nolan Harvey, who scored a career high of 38 points, two shy of the schools all-time record. He also broke the program record for free throws made, hitting 21 of 22.
Harvey attributed his play to the team’s efforts and their ability to find open shots against the Bulldogs zone defense. Despite his personal success, Harvey said he was more focused on the outcome.
“In the end, we got a good win. That’s all that matters,” he said.
Butterfield said he was happy about the large Homecoming day crowd.
“The crowd was phenomenal,” he said. “I just can’t get over the attendance and not only that, but the kids were just all in with their enthusiasm and the way they behaved over there. I thought it really gave our kids a tremendous lift.”
Harvey said the game was just one of many for the team.
“We’ll take it one game at a time, keep it moving down the line,” he said. “Hopefully avoid losing for as long as possible.”
The Comet’s next game is against MacMurray College on Nov. 21 in St. Louis.