Cru claims ASC West title
Monday, 25 February 2013 by Tony Adams
It felt like the game was on mute for the first four minutes. And then the pandemonium ensued.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men's basketball team used a 13-0 first-half run and staunch defensive to lift the Crusaders to a 74-54 victory over Texas Lutheran University Saturday afternoon in Belton. UMHB improved to 20-3 overall and 16-1 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 7-17 overall and 5-13 in ASC play on the year.
The game observed a "Silent Nine" theme. Being that none of the Cru fans made noise from tip-off until the team scored nine points. It looked like a crazy pantomime until that time. Brian Todd made the three-point basket at the 15:30 mark that unmuted the near capacity crowd, where the only noises were the shoe squeaks and basketballs bouncing. Even the buzzers seemed quiet.
"It happened when I was at UTEP when we went to Wyoming," said coach Ken DeWeese. "When they (Wyoming) scored, it was pandemonium. When we scored, it was total quiet. That was a long time ago, so it's not exactly new."
The game went for the first 12 minutes before Layton Zinsmeister buried a three-pointer and added a free-throw for a four-point play to set off the Cru's 13-0 run. UMHB closed the half on a 19-6 spurt to take a 34-20 lead into the locker room.
The Bulldogs closed to within ten points early in the second half, but a UMHB 15-7 streak stretched the lead back to 18. Texas Lutheran never got within 15 points the rest of the way.
Antonie Chaney led the Cru with 17 points off the bench. Brian Todd added 13 points, Kitrick Bell had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Cory Meals chipped in 10 points. Eleven different players scored for UMHB and the Cru shot 47 percent from the field in the win. UMHB hit 10-22 from three-point range and out rebounded TLU 44-26 in the win.
Despite the win, coach DeWeese doesn't believe the team is playing to its potential.
"I don't think we are playing with the same intensity," said DeWeese. "We're not playing with the same offensive efficiency as we did on the road."
UMHB will now close out the regular season with home games against Howard Payne and Sul Ross State next week. The Cru has already clinched the West Division title and a No. 1 seed in the ASC Championship Tournament. The host school will be either UT-Dallas or UT-Tyler. Those schools are tied for the top position in the ASC East with 12-5 conference records and 17-6 overall.
Cru down Schreiner
After a six-game, three-week road trip through the gauntlet of American Southwest Conference cities, the Cru was ready for some home court fun.
UMHB used the power of four players in double figures last Thursday night at the Mayborn Campus Center as the Crusaders knocked off Schreiner 79-65 and clinched the ASC West division title in front of 1,100 fans on "Cheer the Beard" night.
"Coming off the road trip and taking the week off sure helped," said DeWeese.
The Cru popped out to an early 7-3 lead, behind field goals by Cory Meals and Brian Todd field goals and three James Allen free throws. Schreiner went on a 7-0 run to claim a 10-7 with 12:09 to go in the first quarter. The run was highlighted by Stevan Guerrero three-pointer and picturesque 25-foot feed pass from Guerrero to AJ Myres.
Thomas Orr put down the Schreiner threat, stopping it with a field goal and swiping an errant Mountaineer pass and punctuating it with a two-handed, thunderous dunk. Orr's four point, :21 intervention reclaimed the lead for the Cru at 11-10 with 11:21 remaining in the half.
From this point, game would start to be called tightly. So tightly, in fact, that both teams were whistled for combined for 48 fouls. Amazingly, no one fouled out.
Following the media timeout at 9:44 with Schreiner (11-12, 8-9 ASC East) leading 13-12, UMHB went on a 15-0 run, covering the next 2:39. The run was an usual one, that was fueled by five Schreiner fouls, including a technical foul on Schreiner head coach Jimmy Smith. The Cru converted all 10 free throw shots in the streak. Antonie Chaney and reigning ASC West player of the Week Kitrick Bell also chipped in field goals and the Cru took the lead 27-13 with 7:02 to go in the half.
From that point, the remainder of the half see-sawed back and forth. The Cru led 40-31 at halftime.
Meals paced the UMHB scoring attack through the first four minutes of the seconded half, scoring nine of the Cru's first 11 points of the half, spanning 4:22. Schreiner stayed in that span with three-pointers from Guerrero, Myres and a field goal from Ryan Evans. UMHB stretched the lead out to 15 with 11:16 to play, behind Allen, Todd and Bell, to make the score 59-44.
Schreiner made its final push of the ball game with 9:20 to go, taking advantage of missed Cru free throws and parlaying them into a three minute, 10-5 run. However, the push would only bring the Mountaineers with eight points at 64-56. The Cru pulled away, finishing on a 15-9 spurt to clinch the ASC West crown.
UMHB (19-3, 15-1 ASC West) received another balanced scoring effort from the offense. Orr scored 17 to lead the Cru. Allen poured in 16, Meals chipped in 15, and Bell had another double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cru will take on Texas Lutheran on Saturday. Although the three remaining games on the ASC schedule have no meaning in the ASC, they do have significant meaning in maintaining UMHB's number two seed in the NCAA Division III South Regional rankings for the tournament.