BROWNWOOD, Texas- Though Howard Payne launched an upset bid early, the talent of the UMHB men’s basketball team took over, as the Cru took down the Yellow Jackets 82-50, on Saturday night.
The victory moved UMHB to a perfect 8-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall on the season.
Though the final score was lopsided in favor of the Cru, it was Howard Payne who scored the first 11 points of the game and held UMHB scoreless for the first 3:39. A three-pointer from Carson Hammond put the Crusaders on the board, and eventually, behind a fast-paced attack, UMHB tied it up at 17 apiece with 12:11 left in the first half. Hammond again connected from behind the arc, giving the visitors from Belton their first lead of the night, 20-17. Before HPU realized it, UMHB had put together a 13-0 run, taking a 26:17 midway through the first period of play. That lead would grow to a decisive 42-28 advantage at halftime, as the Cru shot 10 threes in the first half.
The second half resembled the first, as UMHB came out of the locker room with an intensity and focus that HPU could not defend. Josiah Johnson laid the ball in to give the Cru its first 20-point lead of the game just minutes into the half, with the lead 48-28. That was part of an 8-0 run to begin the final 20 minutes of action that solidified the win for the Crusaders. In fact, the lead swelled to 39 late in the second half, as the Yellow Jackets shot just 22 percent from the field in the final period of play.
UMHB defended the arc well throughout the contest, considering HPU shot just 17 percent from deep-range in the game, including going 0-for-11 on three-point tries in the second half.
Johnson paced the Cru as he put 29 points on the board, 15 of those coming from three-pointers. Also scoring in double figures was Hammond, as the junior demonstrated his sharpshooting ability, scoring all 18 points from behind the arc. Ty Prince added 14 points.
The Crusaders have little time to celebrate the victory, as LeTourneau comes to Belton Thursday. The Yellow Jackets beat UMHB in non-conference action back on New Year’s Eve.