umhb_logoTYLER – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team erased a halftime deficit and then held on with clutch free-throw shooting in the final seconds as the Cru posted an 85-77 victory over U.T.-Tyler Saturday afternoon in Tyler. The UMHB men improve to 9-4 overall and 6-2 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops the Patriots to 1-14 overall and 0-10 in the ASC on the year.

UMHB led by as many as six points in the early going before U.T.-Tyler fought back to lead by as many as nine points in the first half. The Cru used a late rally to cut the Patriot lead to 38-37 at the half. UMHB then opened the second half with a 10-2 run to take a 47-40 lead and still held a 67-60 advantage with 8:25 remaining. U.T.-Tyler stormed back to tie the game at 67-67 with 7:08 left and trailed the Cru 71-70 1:20 later. Daniel Mills then hit a jumper for UMHB and Justin Gammill followed with a three-pointer to take the lead back to 76-70. The Patriots then went cold try to stay in the game, but Jerard Graham hit another three-pointer for the Cru and UMHB went on to ice the game from the free-throw line in the final seconds to hold off U.T.-Tyler’s comeback bid.

Graham had a career-high 32 points on 10-16 shooting and he added seven rebounds and four assists for the Cru. Mills added 18 points for UMHB and nine different players scored. The Cru 52 percent from the field as a team and went 27-33 from the free-throw line in the win.

Chris Rios led the Patriots with a career-high 33 points and he hit 6-12 three-pointers. Anthony Gonzales, Jr. added 21 points off the bench. Levi Hidalgo led U.T.-Tyler with 10 rebounds as the Patriots out rebounded UMHB 40-35 in the game. U.T.-Tyler hit 12-29 from three-point range but shot just 38 percent overall as a team in the loss.

The Cru will now return home to host a pair of key ASC games next week. UMHB will host conference leader Hardin-Simmons University for a 7:30 PM start on Thursday before closing out the week with a 3:00 PM tip against U.T.-Dallas on Saturday.