The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team will have a new look when the Cru tips off the 2016-17 season on Tuesday night. UMHB will travel to Seguin to face Texas Lutheran University in a 7:00 PM start in the season opener for both teams.
The new look Cru returns just five lettermen and two players who started ten or more games from last year’s team. That group will look to help UMHB rebound from a 10-16 overall record and 5-9 mark in American Southwest Conference play last season. The Cru advanced to the ASC Championship Tournament before falling to East Texas Baptist in the Quarterfinals.
UMHB will build around three seniors this season. W Daniel Mills (Sr., Belton) was second on the team in scoring last season at 14.3 points per game and is also the Cru’s leading returning rebounder. G Avery Polchinski (Sr., Temple) started 17 games and averaged 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds a contest. P Austen Stolte (Sr., Thrall) is the top returning inside player and will look to build on his averages of 1.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game this season. He also led the team with 13 blocked shots.
Two other returners will also fill significant roles this year. G Braden Hammond (Jr., Belton) played his best basketball down the stretch last season and finished at 5.9 points per game. G Demarius Cress (So., Killeen) is one of the conference’s top long-range shooters and he hit 35 percent from three-point range while leading the Cru in scoring at 15.2 points per game.
W Aubrie King (Jr., Mumford) transferred in from St. Edward’s University and W Ryan Newton (So., San Antonio) comes via Dodge City Community College. Those two players are the most experienced newcomers for UMHB this season and will have the opportunity to impact the squad immediately. The Cru will also count on contributions from a deep and talented class of ten freshmen. The group of newcomers includes seven players listed at 6-5 or taller.
UMHB was picked to finish fourth in the ASC West Division in the league’s annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll. Mills, Cress and Stolte were all named to the ASC Preseason Players to Watch list.
You can follow Tuesday night’s season opener through live statistics and live video provided by Texas Lutheran University. You can also access those links through the UMHB Athletic Department web site at www.cruathletics.com.
The Cru will get back in action with the 2016-17 home opener on Saturday, November 19th. UMHB will host Southwestern University in a 6:00 PM start. The start time for that game has been pushed back two hours from the originally set time to help avoid conflicts with Cru football’s home playoff game that day. UMHB will open ASC play at University of the Ozarks on November 29th.
Ken DeWeese is in his 19th season as head coach of the UMHB men’s basketball team. He has guided the Cru to a 331-159 overall record and led the team to the Division III National Championship Game in 2013.