HUNTSVILLE, Texas- Though the UMHB men’s basketball team fought hard against division one Sam Houston State Tuesday night, the Cru fell 101-59 in the exhibition contest.
With 21 days between games, UMHB showed the typical rust evident in teams coming off long breaks, turning the ball over 25 times and allowing the Bearkats to dominate in the post, as SHSU scored 42 points in the paint. Throw in the fact that the Cru’s leading scorer Josiah Johnson did not play a single minute of action. All three of those factors contributed to the loss, but it was a good chance for head coach Clif Carroll’s squad to get back on the court and face quality competition before a trip to east Texas later this week.
The Bearkats tested the Cru in all areas, especially offensively. UMHB struggled to find open shots but finished the game shooting 42 percent from the field. Led by Darius Musa, who stepped up to play 20 minutes and score 10 points, six of those coming off three-pointers, UMHB fought hard on both ends of the floor. Speedy guard Kyle Wright also contributed 10 points, as he played 21 minutes, nearly all at the point guard position. Carroll used his bench efficiently, as 10 players registered 10 minutes of action or more. As a team, the Cru had 26 points from players off the bench.
From the opening tip-off, SHSU raced out to a 12-2 lead a little over four minutes into the game, helped by six forced turnovers. While the Cru looked for a much-needed offensive spark, that lead grew to as much as 24 before guard Carson Hammond put together a 5-1 scoring run. A 6-0 spurt late in the first half helped UMHB’s efforts, but the Bearkats simply had too many playmakers, and took a 57-29 lead to halftime. The second half proved to be much of the same, as the Cru’s short scoring runs could not counteract the high-tempo SHSU offense.
One big positive to be taken away is the fact that UMHB very well could be one of the best rebounding teams in the American Southwest Conference this season. On Tuesday night, the Cru narrowly outrebounded its opponent 37-35. It marked the third time in five games played that UMHB won the battle on the boards.
On paper, the loss does not look pretty, but regardless of the final score, the bottom line is that facing a higher-level opponent like SHSU can only help this young UMHB squad moving into conference play. To close out the non-conference slate, the Crusaders are set to take on LeTourneau Thursday in Longview, Texas, before battling East Texas Baptist Saturday afternoon in Marshall, Texas.