Belton (April 9, 2013) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team’s quest for a Division III National Championship may have fallen short this weekend in Atlanta, but the Cru returned home to another first for the program Tuesday. UMHB was ranked second in the country in the final D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll to post the highest national ranking in the history of the program. The Cru totaled 589 points in the ranking following Sunday’s 87-70 loss to Amherst in the national title game. The Lord Jeffs capped their National Championship season by taking all 25 first-place votes and 625 total points as a unanimous #1. North Central finished third with 564 total points.
UMHB posted postseason victories over the poll’s #4 ranked team (St. Thomas – 548 points), #8 team (St. Mary’s – 402 points) and #11 team (Whitworth University – 378 points). American Southwest Conference rival and Cru Second Round playoff victim Concordia Texas received votes totaling 24 points in the poll.
The Cru had never been ranked higher than fourth in the country at any point in any season by D3hoops.com and did not receive a single vote in the Internet site’s final regular season poll. UMHB became the first unranked team and first team from the state of Texas or the ASC to advance to the Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Game.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never had a group of guys grab my heart the way this team has,” Cru head coach Ken DeWeese said. “I am so proud of what they’ve accomplished this season. We are very disappointed not to have a National Championship, but it is so hard to get there that I think it says a lot about these guys and their strength and character.”
The Cru also set a new school record for victories in a season, finishing with a 27-6 overall record. There were just three seniors on the roster; Cory Meals, Thomas Orr and Brian Todd. Meals and Todd are the first players in UMHB men’s basketball history to have played for four NCAA National Tournament qualifiers and Meals is the only player to appear in four consecutive national tournaments.