Photo by Olivia Champion/@byoliviarayn
BELTON, Texas- The UMHB men’s basketball team remained undefeated at home, though not without opposition, in a 91-86 overtime win over LeTourneau on Saturday afternoon, completing the five-minute extra period on an 11-0 run.
It moved the Cru to 4-1 in ASC play, and 7-1 overall, a key victory considering it marked the last conference game head coach Clif Carroll’s team will play until a Jan. 3 duel with Concordia (TX). LeTourneau, meanwhile, dropped to 4-1 in conference action.
Tied at 76 at the end of regulation, LeTourneau took the first lead of the overtime, when Deonte Jackson converted on consecutive free-throw attempts. The YellowJackets took an 86-80 advantage two minutes later, as Warren Richardson and former Crusader Jordan Pride connected on three-point attempts.
UMHB scored its first four points in overtime at the free-throw line, but missed its first two shots from the field, before Luke Feely’s layup fell through with 2:25 to play. It made the score 86-82 in favor of the Cru, and a Gibson Hearne free throw 33 seconds later cut the deficit to just three points. Perhaps the most critical stretch of overtime came on the next two possessions, as the Cru played phenomenal defense and forced a turnover, turning it into a Ty Prince layup on the other end of the floor. Now trailing by just a single point, Prince gathered Richardson’s missed jumper on LETU’s following possession, and raced the length of the court for a second layup. LETU had no other option but to call a timeout, in an attempt to slow UMHB’s newfound momentum.
But it was of no use. The YellowJackets got an opportunity with 47 seconds remaining, when Richardson was sent to the free-throw line after a pushing foul against Feely on the baseline. However, Richardson, a 62 percent free-throw shooter entering the contest, missed both attempts. Prince was then intentionally fouled, but in an uncharacteristic showing on his part, he too missed both free throws, keeping it a one-possession game, with UMHB leading 89-86.
But Prince did not have to wait long to offset the misses on the offensive end. With 4.7 seconds on the clock, LETU fired the ball into the frontcourt, hoping to put one of the guards in a position for a game-tying three-pointer. Only, Prince stepped into front of the pass, pulling it down as the YellowJackets frantically tried to foul. Feely ended up with the ball, and made both of his free-throws, sealing what might be UMHB’s toughest conference win at this point.
It was not the first time UMHB had to fight back against a sizable deficit. LETU jumped out to a 8-2 lead in the first half, though the Crusaders battled back to take a 13-12 advantage at the 13:22 mark on Prince’s fastbreak layup. There were five lead changes in the first 20 minutes of play, as UMHB took a 37-35 lead at halftime.
The lead changed hands six times in the second half, as neither team widened the margin to more than 11 points. LETU went up 58-57 with 8:17 in the second half, chipping away at UMHB’s 11-point lead. Josiah Johnson’s three-pointer with 1:18 to play put the Cru back in front, 76-74, though Richardson rose to the occasion for LETU, weaving through the UMHB defense for a jumper with 13 seconds to play. It tied the score, and Johnson missed a long three at the buzzer to send it into overtime, where UMHB eventually earned the victory.
Feely tallied a double-double, with 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Johnson led the team with 25 points. Prince also posted a double-double effort, with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
UMHB resumes play following Christmas at the D3hoops.com Classic, facing Pacific Lutheran on Dec. 29 at 11 p.m. CT.