Belton (January 8, 2013) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team almost let several double digit leads slip away, but the Cru came up big in crunch time, holding Concordia’s late rally to post a 98-95 victory over the Tornados Tuesday night in Belton. UMHB improves to 10-3 overall and 7-1 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The Cru also breaks a three-way tie for first place in the ASC West Division with the win to take a half-game lead over Hardin-Simmons University. The loss snaps Concordia’s eight-game winning streak and drops the Tornados to 10-3 overall and 6-2 in ASC play on the season.
UMHB opened the second half strong and opened up a 12-point lead at 59-47 in the early going. The lead would grow to as many as 18 before Concordia stormed back. Josh Sanchez hit a lay-up with 1:37 remaining to give the Tornados their first lead of the second half at 91-90. James Allen answered with a lay-in on the next possession to make it 92-91, but another Sanchez basket put Concordia up 93-92. Brian Todd’s jumper with 37 seconds left gave UMHB a 94-93 lead and the Cru added four more free throws while getting stops at the defensive end. Sanchez hit a runner with 1.1 seconds left to cut it to the final margin and Thomas Orr pulled in a baseball pass and held the ball as time expired. The Cru led by as many as 15 points in the first half after trailing 8-0 to start the game. Concordia used another run to close to within 45-43 at halftime.
Todd finished with 25 points on 10-14 shooting and he added six rebounds and four assists. Orr also poured in 25 points and went 5-10 from three-point range. Kitrick Bell had 14 points and seven boards and Allen added 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for UMHB. The Cru shot 55 percent from the field and went 8-24 from three-point range. UMHB was 14-19 from the free-throw line in the second half after hitting just 2-8 from the stripe in the first half.
Dwayne Patterson topped Concordia with 25 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, while Sanchez also poured in 25 points and recorded six assists. Nick Haynes finished with 12 points, all of them coming in the second half for the Tornados. Concordia shot 53 percent from the field and 9-22 from beyond the arc. The Tornados also out rebounded UMHB 39-34 in the game.
The Cru will return to action with a 3:00 PM home game against Hardin-Simmons University on Saturday. That will be the final home game of the month for the UMHB men. The Cowboys play at Concordia on Thursday night.