Editor’s Note: Image provided by the UMHB Athletics Department
ABILENE, Texas- For the second time in 24 hours, the UMHB men’s basketball team walked off the court as winners in Abilene, earning a 94-84 victory over McMurry Saturday afternoon.
Aedan Welch’s presence proved again to be beneficial as the 6’5 post player brought down rebound after rebound, a total of 11 on the day. His efforts helped the Cru win the rebounding battle 43-30, as they looked much better in the post than they did in Friday’s win at Hardin-Simmons.
If there is one thing head coach Clif Carroll does not need to go over in practice, it is free throw shooting. Late in the contest, McMurry reverted to quick fouling, as the trailing Warhawks attempted to close the gap. That sent either Welch or guard Kyle Wright to the line eight different times in the final 2:01, as they calmly sank their shots, extending the UMHB lead. As a team, they were 21-33 from the line, not perfect, but key in a game that was close throughout the majority of both halves.
If there has been one player not named Josiah Johnson or Kyle Wright to emerge as an unexpected addition to the Crusaders’ offensive attack, it is Kobe Richardson. A sharpshooter, the talented freshman guard from Forsan, Texas, continued to make an impact from beyond the arc, connecting on three of his four three-point attempts in Saturday’s contest. His accuracy from long-range played no small role in UMHB’s impressive 48% three-point percentage.
McMurry jumped out in front early, but the Cru slowly erased the deficit due to smart passing and several short-range shots. While McMurry capitalized on two late turnovers in the first half, taking a 41-40 lead into the half, UMHB came back onto the floor ready to make a statement. They certainly did. After Johnson laid the ball in with 19:27 left, giving the Cru the lead, UMHB never looked back. McMurry trailed until the final buzzer, as Carroll’s squad solidified its second straight victory.
Leading in offensive production was Belton native Carson Hammond who scored 21 points, and Johnson, who has emerged as UMHB’s top scorer through three games. Johnson paced the Cru with 26 points.
Due to COVID protocol, a total of zero fans stat in the stands at Kimbrell Arena, limiting the amount of home court advantage the Warhawks had.
The Cru’s 2-0 start to the 2020-21 campaign is encouraging, especially with a young and untested team. Perhaps more notable is the fact that both of those victories have come against fellow ASC opponents, a sign of what is to come in conference play.
UMHB will get over a week off before heading to Carroll’s former home court in Alpine on November 8, as the Crusaders prepare for a challenging road matchup against Sul Ross State.