The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team heated up from the field in the second half and the Cru used a balanced scoring effort to knock off Concordia Texas 102-98 in a high-scoring affair Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improves to 13-5 overall and 6-4 in the American Southwest Conference with the victory. The loss drops the Tornados to 12-5 overall and 6-3 in ASC play on the year.
The Cru defense gave up big in the early going, limiting the high-powered Concordia offense as UMHB jumped out to a 16-6 lead. The Cru would lead by as many as 14 in the first half before the Tornados rallied to cut it to 49-45 UMHB at halftime. The Cru opened up another double-digit lead at 85-74 with 7:30 remaining. Concordia again battled back and would close to within four points on two occasions in the final minute. UMHB led 101-95 when LaKendric Hyson came up with a big blocked shot and defensive rebound as the Tornados looked to make it a one-possession game. Hyson’s free throw made it 102-95 and Joe Neal hit a three-pointer at the final buzzer to cut it to the final margin for Concordia.
Shaq Martin led six players in double figures for the Cru with 21 points and he was 8-12 from the field. Demarius Cress added 18 points, Hyson finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Aubrie King and Brian Long scored 12 points apiece. Braden Hammond had 11 points and six assists and Long grabbed a team-high nine boards. UMHB shot 54 percent from the field in the second half and hit 48 percent for the game. The Cru was 8-22 from three-point range, 34-45 from the free-throw line and out rebounded Concordia 47-38 in the victory.
Ephraim Price III topped all scorers with 34 points for the Tornados. Neal added 29 points and a team-best six rebounds off the bench. Only six other players scored for Concordia. The Tornados shot 42 percent from the floor, were 10-31 from beyond the arc and went 28-36 from the stripe in the contest.
UMHB will continue its five-game home stand with two more key ASC West Division matchups next week. The Cru will host Howard Payne University for a 7:30 PM start on Thursday before closing out the week with a 4:00 PM tip-off against Sul Ross State next Saturday.