BELTON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team battled all night and finally put U.T.-Tyler away from the free-throw line in the final minutes as the Cru posted a 77-66 victory over the Patriots Thursday night in Belton. UMHB improves to 15-7 overall and 12-5 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The loss drops U.T.-Tyler to 3-20 overall and 2-16 in the ASC on the year.
The first half was a see-saw affair that saw nine lead changes and six ties. The Cru held a 34-31 lead at the break. The second half started out as more of the same as neither team could pull away. The Cru used a 7-0 run to grab a 57-50 lead with 5:41 remaining. Tyler cut it to five points before the Cru pulled away with clutch free-throw shooting and led by six or more points the rest of the way.
Jerard Graham led UMHB with 20 points and he pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Jalen Jury and Daniel Mills added 17 points apiece off the bench. Jury also had eight rebounds and six assists. The Cru shot 40 percent from the field as a team and hit 27-33 from the free-throw. UMHB was 20-23 from the stripe in the second half.
Chris Rios led U.T.-Tyler with 20 points and he added five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Tyler Jacobs had 16 points and a team-best eight boards. The Patriots shot 35 percent as a team, but hit just 4-21 from three-point range in the loss.
The Cru men will now close out their home schedule with a 3:00 PM game against the University of the Ozarks on Saturday. UMHB will then hit the road to close out the regular season with games at U.T.-Dallas and Hardin-Simmons next week. The Cru men have already clinched a berth in the ASC Championship Tournament.