Mustang Stampede: Midwestern State uses big first half to take down UMHB

BELTON, Texas- There is no rest for the weary, as the UMHB men’s basketball team returned to the court less than 24 hours after Friday’s loss to Concordia, falling 93-70 to D2 Midwestern State in an exhibition on Saturday afternoon.

It was the Cru’s third exhibition of the season, and, as of right now, the final non-conference game of the 2020-21 slate.

The Mustangs of Midwestern State came ready to play, draining three shots from three-point range on their first four possessions. That was just the beginning, as MSU put together a 21-3 lead early in the first half, before UMHB found its rhythm and crawled back into the contest. With 4:03 left in the first, the Crusaders, led by guard Carson Hammond, cut the gap to single digits, with the score 31-23. A 9-2 run to close out a nearly perfect first half for MSU put the Mustangs in front, 40-25, by the midway point.

Though Hammond continued to make crucial shots, and the Cru mounted several scoring runs in the second half, the Mustang stampede could not be stopped. After pulling away late, MSU held a 26-point advantage before UMHB guard Kyle Wright hit a three at the final buzzer.

It would be hard to disagree with the fact that head coach Clif Carroll’s squad has played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the American Southwest Conference (ASC). UMHB has gone toe-to-toe with D1 programs in Texas State and Sam Houston State, and also tangoed with a very good Midwestern State team whose only loss this season came to St. Edwards, the No. 9 team in division two.

Hammond was a force from behind the arc all afternoon, as he scored 23 points, all but two of those coming on three-pointers. The junior from Belton also pulled down a team-best six rebounds. Senior forward Aedan Welch chipped in with 13 points, and freshman Gibson Hearne came off the bench to score 11.

In yet another game controlled primarily by offense, the shooting percentages were telling. MSU shot 49 percent from the field, while the Cru shot 38 percent.

Midwestern State also tied its program record with 19 three-pointers, including four from Terrell Wilson, who scored 21 points.

After its first week of conference play was cancelled, UMHB will now open its ASC schedule with a home contest against Louisiana College on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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