DALLAS — The Dallas Crusaders now are just another college basketball team trying to put together two straight victories after the small Catholic school ended a record 86-game losing streak.
The University of Dallas won its first game in nearly three seasons Saturday night, 76-68, over John Brown. The winless streak was the longest ever for a four-year college.
Moments after Coach Barry Davis was doused with ice water and the basketball nets were cut down, the celebration began in earnest.
Davis, his players and students gathered on the campus at Irving, and spent the postgame hours congratulating each other when they heard their accomplishment broadcast nationwide.
"They ran a little blurb on ESPN saying congratulations," Davis said. "At that point, the place went crazy."
Davis said he was especially happy for senior captain Steve Prud'homme, who scored 20 points against John Brown.
"He was so excited, so bubbly," Davis said.
Prud'homme said he refused to acknowledge the end of the losing streak until there were two seconds left in the game.
"A team that loses this many finds ways to lose games," he said.
Davis, who played college basketball at St. Lawrence (N.Y.), has been the Crusader coach since the team was organized in 1985.
The 1,200-student college has high academic standards and doesn't offer athletic scholarships, and Davis said he has had to build his team from glorified YMCA stars.
"It's been a teaching process," he said. "I've had to go over fundamentals that most kids would have learned in the seventh grade."
Without scholarships, it's difficult to recruit, Davis said.
"I either have to recruit poor kids who are smart and can get financial assistance or pretty wealthy kids who are smart and usually they can go wherever they want," he said. "I've lost kids to the most podunk towns you can imagine."
The school is an NAIA Division III independent and often plays schools that offer athletic scholarships.
But for, now Davis is concentrating on today's opponent, LeTourneau College.
For some students, the end of the streak brought sadness.
"I heard some people say in the cafeteria now that we won, we won't be as notorious," sophomore Jon Whatley said.