The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team overcame a cold-shooting second half with clutch free throws down the stretch as the Cru topped McMurry University 74-70 Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improves to 13-7 overall and 6-5 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the War Hawks to 8-11 overall and 4-7 in ASC play on the year.
The Cru led by eight after hitting the first bucket of the second half, but McMurry scored seven straight to cut the lead to 39-38. UMHB would not lead by more than five points again until DeTron Fuller’s jumper with 6:47 remaining made it 56-50 Cru. The War Hawks pulled back to within one point at 59-58 with 5:18 to go. UMHB stretched it back to 68-63 with 1:05 left, but Kaan Yilmaz’s three-pointer made it a two-point game at 68-66. Braden Hammond hit four straight free throws and Daniel Mills added two more while McMurry was limited to two layups in the final 18 seconds as the Cru held on for the win.
The War Hawks controlled the early going of the game, hitting their first five shots from the field to open up a 13-6 lead. UMHB answered with an 8-0 run for its first lead of the game. The Cru scored eight of the final ten points of the half to grab a 37-31 lead at halftime, as both teams went scoreless the final 1:19 of the period. UMHB shot 52 percent from the field in that half while holding McMurry to 34 percent.
Demarius Cress led the Cru with 22 points and Mills added 16 points and seven rebounds. Fuller scored a career-high 11 points off the bench on 4-7 shooting. Austen Stolte added a game-high 14 points and eight points for UMHB. The Cru shot 40 percent from the field for the game after hitting just 30 percent in the second half. UMHB out rebounded the War Hawks 47-41 and finished 20-23 from the free-throw line.
Yilmaz led McMurry with 17 points and he grabbed seven rebounds. Nate Estrada scored 16 points and had a team-best eight boards and four assists. LaRandall Scroggins chipped in 13 points and Aaron Gettys came off the bench to score 11. The War Hawks hit 39 percent from the field in the game, but were just 6-23 from three-point range and 12-20 from the line in the loss.
The Cru will continue its five-game home stand with one game next week. UMHB will welcome Concordia Texas to the Mayborn Campus Center next Saturday for a 3:00 PM start in another key ASC West Division showdown.