Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men's basketball team shook off the rust of a two-week layoff and then knocked off Rust College 88-67 in the opening round of the Cru Holiday Classic Friday night in Belton. The Cru improves to 8-2 on the season with the victory while the loss drops the Bearcats to 7-8 on the year.
UMHB opened the game with an 8-2 run and led 16-6 at the 13:02 mark. The Bearcats would close to within six points just under six minutes later, but a Thomas Orr three-pointer pushed the lead back to nine and the Cru would lead by as many as 19 points before settling for a 41-25 halftime lead. UMHB opened the second half with a 6-0 run, holding the Bearcats scoreless for the first 5:22. Rust chipped away and cut the gap to 54-41 with 9:54 remaining, but the Cru answered with a 13-5 run to take the lead back over 20 points and the Bearcats did not challenge from there.
Thomas Orr led a balanced UMHB scoring attack with 16 points and he added nine rebounds. Antonie Chaney chipped in 14 points and Brian Todd had 12 as 11 different players scored for the Cru. UMHB shot 51 percent from the field and hit 7-23 from three-point range.
Shun Thompson had a game-high 18 points to lead Rust and Johnathan Bowens added 13 more off the bench. Kwahmere Gredic scored 12 to give the Bearcats three players in double figures. Rust shot just 22 percent in the first half and finished at 33 percent for the game.
UMHB will close out the tournament with a 7:30 PM tip-off against Edgewood College on Saturday. The Eagles fell to 2-10 on the season after losing to Concordia Texas in the tournament's opening game on Friday. The Tornados will face Rust at 5:30 to open Saturday's final day of action in the tournament.