BELTON, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team dropped a seven-point decision to Hardin-Simmons University Friday evening in the American Southwest Conference Men’s Basketball semifinals. The loss dropped the Cru to 21-5 while the Cowboys improved to 19-8.
Hardin-Simmons opened the game with a four-point lead before Nathan Stolz hit a jumper in the paint to cut the gap to two. Steven Quinn made a three-pointer at 18:07 to extend the margin to five before Josiah Johnson brought the Cru back within one possession with a jumper at 17:04. Ty Prince evened the contest with a three-pointer at 16:21. The game went back-and-forth from there with five tied scores before the Cowboys pulled away with a four-point play. Hardin-Simmons held a lead for the duration of the half, going into halftime up 36-30.
Josiah Johnson led the Cru with 12 points in the first half while Luke Feely added six. UMHB shot 31.7 percent in the first half off 13 field goals.
The Cowboys controlled the game offensively for most of the second half and held a double-digit lead for the majority. UMHB started chipping away, pulling within five points with 2:57 to play. The Cru continued to press but Hardin-Simmons managed the game with at least a two-possession margin for the duration, beating UMHB 78-71.
Johnson led the Cru with 16 points while Ty Prince added 13. Johnson was also the Cru’s leading rebounder with nine, followed by Luke Feely with eight. UMHB shot 32.4 percent in the contest, scoring 22 points off the bench and 22 fast break points. UMHB also had 30 points in the paint and 10 points off turnovers. Kyle Wright led UMHB’s defense with five steals.
Hardin-Simmons advances to the ASC Men’s Basketball Finals and will face East Texas Baptist University at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 25th. UMHB is currently ranked second in the NCAA Regional Rankings and will await word about an at-large bid in the 2023 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. That selection show will air on on Monday, February 27th.