University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Press Release:
BELTON, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team came up with clutch plays in the final minute as the Cru knocked off previously unbeaten Louisiana College 74-71 Thursday evening in Belton. UMHB improves to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the Wildcats to 2-1 overall and in the ASC on the year.
Louisiana College fought back from a double-digit second half deficit to take a 68-67 lead with 1:36 remaining in the game. Carson Hammond drilled a three-pointer from the corner on the next possession to put the Cru back on top 70-68. The Wildcats pulled to within one on a free-throw with 11 seconds to go, but Josiah Johnson pulled down a rebound on the missed second shot. Johnson hit two free throws at the other end to put UMHB up 72-69 and grabbed another huge rebound when LC missed a potential game-tying three-pointer. Johnson converted two more free throws to make it 74-69 before the Wildcats scored on a layup at the final buzzer.
The Cru would build a 10-point lead at 54-44 six minutes into the second half before LC clawed back into the game with a 13-4 run. UMHB would hold off the Wildcats until LC took that 68-67 lead. The Cru trailed by ten points in the early going of the contest as Louisiana College hit three of its first four three-point attempts. UMHB rallied and led 37-33 at halftime after holding the Wildcats to 0-6 shooting from long-range for the rest of the period.
Johnson had another big night for the Cru, finishing with 28 points and 14 rebounds. He was 16-16 from the stripe to tie the conference record for most made free throws in a game without a miss. Hammond and Kyle Wright added 10 points apiece for UMHB as the Cru shot 43 percent from the field. UMHB was 22-24 from the line and out rebounded the Wildcats 36-31 on the night. UMHB also gave Clif Carroll his first ASC win as the Cru’s head coach with the victory.
Kae’ron Baker topped LC with 19 points and Galen Smith, Jr. added 17. Ferontay Banks chipped in 14 and Malik Cooper scored 10, including the basket that gave the Wildcats their only lead of the second half. Louisiana College shot 46 percent from the field as a team and finished 5-16 from beyond the arc.
The Cru men will close out its homestand with a 5 pm tip against Belhaven University on Saturday. UMHB is then scheduled to hit the road for a pair of ASC games next week in Abilene.