The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team seized control of the game in the final minutes of the first half and the Cru dominated the second half on the way to a 105-85 victory over Belhaven University Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improves to 11-4 overall and 4-3 in American Southwest Conference play with the win. The Cru has won four in a row and seven of its last eight games. The loss drops the Blazers to 2-10 overall and 1-5 in the ASC on the year.
There were eight ties and ten lead changes in the first half, but UMHB closed the half with a 10-0 run to snag a 46-38 lead at the break. The Cru closed out that run by scoring the first seven points of the second half to stretch the lead to 15 points. Belhaven would battle back to cut the gap to 68-64 with 12:20 remaining before the UMHB defense stiffened and the Cru three-point shooters heated up. A Shaq Martin steal led to Sam Moore’s rim-shaking reverse dunk on a fast break to put the Cru up 94-74 with 5:39 left to play and the Blazers never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Demarius Cress led six UMHB players in double figures with 22 points on 7-9 shooting from three-point range. The seven threes are a new single-game high for Cress. Moore and LaKendric Hyson added 20 points apiece and Brian Long and Justin Gammill both recorded double-doubles for the Cru. Long had 10 points and 13 rebounds while Gammill had 14 points and ten boards. UMHB shot 61 percent from the field in the second half and hit 55 percent for the game. The Cru was 10-28 from three-point range and set a new school single-game record with 35 assists. UMHB also out rebounded Belhaven 45-31 in the victory.
Taevian Leatherwood topped the Blazers with 19 points on 7-11 shooting in the game. Rick Hodium hit 5-9 from three-point range to chip in 17 points and Isiah Brown (14 points) and Brent Webber (12 points) also reached double figures. Belhaven shot 47 percent as a team and went 10-31 from beyond the arc. Both teams finished 13-17 from the free-throw line in the game.
UMHB will now hit the road to open ASC West Division play with a pair of games in Abilene next week. The Cru will take on Hardin-Simmons University in a 7:30 PM tip-off on Thursday before closing out the week with a 4:00 PM start at McMurry University next Saturday.