ABILENE, Texas- In Thursday’s victory over Hardin-Simmons, Josiah Johnson did not lead the UMHB men’s basketball team in points for the first time this season. However, on Saturday, as the Cru beat McMurry for the second time this season by a score of 94-66, Johnson once again proved to be UMHB’s go-to offensive weapon, as he put 35 points on the board.
The sophomore scored 30-plus points for the sixth time this season, and shot an impressive 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also shot 61 percent from the field as he overwhelmed the McMurry defense.
Johnson was not the only Crusader who had a strong performance on Saturday, though. Centenary transfer Ty Prince, playing in just the second game of his UMHB career, scored 13 points and tallied four blocked shots. While Johnson and Prince were the only Crusaders in double figures, 10 other players contributed to Cru’s 94 points.
From the opening tip, the Cru took control, as Johnson scored UMHB’s first points on a layup four seconds into the contest. McMurry, which entered the contest 1-6 on the season, fought back, as the Warhawks’ Matt Pena hit a three-pointer just seconds later. The Warhawks led 10-6 with 16:02 left in the first half, but four free-throws from Johnson tied the game up at 10 apiece with 15:09 to play. McMurry had no answer. The Warhawks would not lead again, as the visitors from Belton went on a 10-2 run to take a commanding 20-12 advantage. The margin would only get larger as the two teams headed to the half, UMHB in front 44-25.
Though McMurry cut the deficit to 17 points, 63-46, midway through the second half, the Cru defense played phenomenal, holding the Warhawks scoreless for 3:50 as offense translated into defense. During that 3:50, UMHB put together a 12-0 scoring run, sealing the win.
The victory moves the Cru up to 4-0 in conference play, and 7-3 on the season. Head coach Clif Carroll has made it clear that the goal for this team is to go undefeated in conference play. On Saturday, they took a step closer in that direction, and sit alone atop the West Division standings. In fact, UMHB is the only undefeated team remaining in the entire ASC.
The Crusaders will return to Belton this upcoming week and face two familar opponents, as McMurry faces off against the Cru Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT and Hardin-Simmons comes to Belton on Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. CT tip-off.