Belton, TX – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men's basketball team closed the first half with a 16-3 run and then stretched it out in the second half on the way to a 106-69 victory over Hardin-Simmons University Saturday afternoon in Belton. The Cru improves to 12-3 overall and 8-1 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the Cowboys to 9-5 overall and 6-3 in the ASC on the year.
HSU took the lead early, going up 10-6 before UMHB answered with a 7-0 run to take the lead for good. Eric Taylor's three-pointer pulled the Cowboys to within 28-26 with 4:32 remaining in the first half and it would be 30-29 Cru with 3:18 left in the half. Thomas Orr then scored 12 of UMHB's next 14 points to close the half, putting an exclamation point on the period with a reverse slam dunk to end the half with the Cru leading 44-29. Hardin-Simmons cut the gap to 11 points early in the second half, but never got close enough to threaten as the Cru took the lead over 20 points with 10:54 left to play. Antonie Chaney recorded back-to-back steals and scored five straight points to push the lead over 30 and UMHB cruised to the victory.
Orr scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Cru and he had 18 of those in the first half. Chaney finished with 23 points on 9-14 shooting and he added six assists. Kitrick Bell had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds and James Allen chipped in 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for UMHB. The Cru shot 51 percent from the field and hit 13-29 from three-point range. UMHB also forced 22 turnovers while giving the ball away just nine times.
Eric Taylor led the Cowboys with 21 points off the bench. John Derr added 12 points as he hit 4-9 from three-point range and Bernard Stiggers scored 10. Stiggers also had a team-high nine rebounds and added five assists. HSU shot just 37 percent from the field and leading scorer Darius Singletary was held to just two points on 1-5 shooting.
UMHB will enter next week with sole possession of first place in the ASC West Division, one game ahead of Concordia Texas and two games up on HSU. The Cru will not play another home game this month, with the next six games coming on the road. That stretch starts with a 7:30 PM tip-off at Texas Lutheran University next Thursday in Seguin.