Daniel Mills scored 24 points, including 2 free throws in the final seconds, to lead UMHB to a win over UT-Dallas on Thursday. (David Morris/Centexphoto Studio)

RICHARDSON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team roared back from a huge second-half deficit and stunned U.T.-Dallas with a pair of Daniel Mills free throws in the final second as the Cru posted a 76-75 Thursday night in Richardson. The UMHB men improve to 17-7 overall and 14-5 in American Southwest Conference play with the victory. The Comets drop to 16-8 overall and 11-8 in the ASC on the year with the loss.

The Cru would trail 51-31 with 14:56 left in the game before starting to chip away. UMHB finally cut the lead to single digits at 69-60 on a Jerard Graham lay-up with 4:35 remaining. UTD promptly scored to push it back to 11 points, but Mills wrapped three-pointers around a Graham steal and dunk and then added two free throws to close the gap to 72-70 with 2:10 on the clock. The Comets hit a three-pointer to make it 75-70 with 1:56 left, but Mills hit two more free throws to make it a 75-72 game with a minute to go. UTD missed a free-throw on the next possession and Graham’s bucket made it 75-74 with 31 seconds to play. UTD missed another free throw with eight seconds left and Mills was fouled on his attempt at a game-winning lay-up as time expired. After a lengthy video review, the officials put .2 on the game clock and Mills calmly sank both free throws to give the Cru its first lead since a 2-0 edge in the opening minute. The Comets could not get off a desperation shot on the final possession as UMHB held on for the win. UTD led by as many as 18 points in a hit-shooting first half and the Comets were up 41-29 at halftime.

Mills led the Cru with 24 points off the bench and he was 8-8 from the free-throw line. Mills also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and he blocked three shots. Graham finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals, Sidney Deloach contributed 14 points and Jalen Jury had 10 more off the bench. UMHB shot 45 percent from the field as a team and went 10-14 from the free throw line in the second half.

Rafael Farley topped UTD with 27 points and he was 5-9 from three-point range. Matthew Medell scored 20 points and Caleb Banks added 11 points and 11 assists for the Comets. UTD shot 48 percent from the floor as a team and went 12-24 from beyond the arc, but the Comets were just 3-10 from the free throw line in the second half and 7-14 from the stripe for the game.

The Cru men will close out the regular season with a 3:00 PM tip-off at Hardin-Simmons University Saturday in Abilene. Thursday’s win, coupled with ETBU’s loss to Howard Payne keeps UMHB alive in the hunt for the #1 seed in the ASC Championship Tournament and the right to host that event.