BROWNWOOD, Texas — The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team closed the first half with a 23-8 run to take control of the game and the Cru held off a late comeback bid in a 91-77 victory over Howard Payne University Thursday night in Brownwood. UMHB improves to 14-10 overall and 6-9 in American Southwest Conference play with the win. The loss drops the Yellow Jackets to 2-22 overall and 1-14 in the ASC on the season.
The Cru led 50-29 at halftime and pushed the lead out to 28 points early in the second half. Howard Payne started to chip away and pulled back to within 79-71 with 4:14 left to play. Devyn Brewton hit a jumper for UMHB on the next possession to spark a 12-6 Cru run to close the game and hold the Yellow Jackets rally at bay. HPU’s only lead of the game came at 6-4 in the very early going and UMHB held the lead for 38:12 of the contest.
Sam Moore led three Cru players with double-doubles after finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Logan Hicks had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Aedan Welch added season highs with 15 points and 11 boards. Brewton also reached double figures with 13 points for UMHB. The Cru shot 47 percent from the field and hit 19-27 from the free-throw line. UMHB also had a huge edge on the boards, out rebounding HPU 56-37 on the night to help overcome 20 turnovers.
Jacob Smith topped Howard Payne with 20 points. Jase Miguez and Kyle Kildare had 13 points apiece and Kildare grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. The Yellow Jackets shot 38 percent as a team and hit 13-37 from three-point range.
The UMHB men clinched a berth in the ASC Tournament with the win and McMurry’s loss at Ozarks. UMHB also moved into a three-way tie for second place in the ASC West with Hardin-Simmons and Concordia also losing Thursday night. The Cru will close out the regular season with a 3 pm tip-off against Sul Ross State Saturday in Alpine.