Belton (November 19, 2012) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team will tip off the 2012-13 season at home Tuesday night fresh off the best regular season in program history. The Cru will welcome Southwestern University to the Mayborn Campus Center Tuesday for a 7:30 PM start in the second half of a women’s-men’s doubleheader.
UMHB will return eight letter winners and two full-time starters this season. G James Allen (Jr., The Woodlands) started 11 games and led the Cru with 65 assists and 46 steals last season. He also averaged 8.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and should be one of the team’s top offensive threats again this year. F Kitrick Bell (Jr., Fort Bend) averaged 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in eight starts but missed time late in the season with injuries last year. He should join W Brian Todd (Sr., Pflugerville) in the starting front court. Todd started 18 games last season and averaged 7.6 points and 3.8 boards per game. W Thomas Orr (Sr., Hutto) and W Cory Meals (Sr., Whitesboro) could also play their way into the starting line-up after averaging 6.9 and 5.7 points per game respectively last season. W Cedric Hudson (So., Cedar Park) and F Kainon Irons (So., Abilene) will compete for larger roles after serving as key reserves last season. P Sheldon Jones (Sr., Houston) was expected to provide a rebounding presence inside, but will likely miss the season after suffering a serious injury in practice two weeks ago.
The back court will get a boost from a talented group of newcomers. G Antoine Chaney (Jr., Corsicana) transferred in from Temple Junior College and could claim the starting job at point guard. Layton Zinsmeister (Fr., The Woodlands), Avery Polchinski (Fr., Temple) and Darnelle Reese (Fr., Corsicana) also all have a chance to make immediate contributions this year. C’s Russell Green (Fr., Klein) and Chris Burks (So., Little Elm) will have a chance to step into the void left by the injury to Jones in the paint. And the front court will also get a shot from W’s Nick Kanu (Fr., Richardson), Sidney Deloach (Fr., Round Rock) and Jared Hamilton (Fr., Flower Mound). Those players will join F Braxton Tucker (Fr., Salado) in battling for time in the front court rotation, although Tucker could be limited early by an arm injury.
Following Tuesday night’s game, the Cru will hit the road for a pair of games in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend. UMHB will face Whitworth University in a 5:00 PM Central Time start on Friday before closing out the trip at Whitman College in a 4:00 PM Central Time tip on Sunday. The Cru will then face Trinity University next Wednesday in San Antonio before returning home to open American Southwest Conference play against LeTourneau University on Saturday, December 1st.
UMHB finished 25-3 overall and posted a 20-1 in ASC play last season. The Cru hosted the ASC Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons and posted a school-record 24-1 regular season record. The Cru then fell to Trinity University in the opening round of the NCAA Division III National Championships.