Belton, TX— The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men's basketball team stretched out a close game in the final minutes as the Cru finally wore down Louisiana College in an 84-71 victory over the Wildcats Saturday afternoon in Belton. The 12th-ranked UMHB men improve to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in American Southwest Conference play with the win. The loss drops LC to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the ASC on the season.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. Both teams built six point leads during the half, but UMHB had to settle for a 33-31 lead at the break. The Cru opened up a nine-point lead early in the second half at 50-41, but Korey Salmon's three-pointer cut the gap to 52-51 with 10:08 remaining. The game was tied at 57 with 7:33 left to play when UMHB finally took control. Marlon Miller wrapped eight points around a Jarrod Jackson jumper to put the Cru up by six with 5:19 to go. A pair of Wildcat free-throws closed the gap to four, but UMHB scored the next six points to push the lead to double figures. LC would not get closer than five points the rest of the way as the Cru iced the game from the free-throw stripe.
Miller led UMHB with 34 points, just two days after setting a career-high with 36 against Mississippi College. Miller hit 4-7 from beyond the arc. Greg Wiernas added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Sterling Phillips also reached double figures with 11 points and he also chipped in seven rebounds and four assists.
Jackson led the Wildcats with 18 points and Phillip George added 12 more. Salmon had 10 points and a game-best 10 rebounds and Derrick Gardner also reached double figures with 10 points.
The Cru shot 47 percent from the field and went 7-14 from three-point range. LC shot 44 percent from the field and was 10-23 from long-range. UMHB out rebounded the Wildcats 39-31 and forced 20 LC turnovers.
The UMHB men will return to action with a trip to the Concordia University Christmas Tournament in two weeks. The Cru will face Wisconsin-Stout in the first game of that tournament on December 29th before closing out the tournament against Concordia-Chicago on December 30th. Those games will be played on the campus of Concordia Texas in Austin.