Above photo by Olivia Champion/@byoliviarayn
7:30 p.m. Mayborn Campus Center, Belton
About the series: UMHB has won six of the last 10 meetings, including two of the three contests between the two last season. The Tornadoes won 106-101 in Belton in the home opener, a non-conference game, though the Cru won by scores of 85-74, and 105-76 in ASC play. Since 2009, UMHB is 18-9 against Concordia.
No. 19 UMHB (9-1, 4-1 ASC)
UMHB Projected Starting Five
Head Coach: Clif Carroll (2nd Season)
About the Cru: The No. 19 team in the nation, UMHB comes off two victories over the holiday break at the D3hoops.com Classic. A late Josiah Johnson three-pointer lifted UMHB to a 56-53 win over Pacific Lutheran on Dec. 29, and the Crusaders defeated Saint Mary’s (Minn.) 84-64 the following day. Riding a four-game win streak, they showed signs of beginning to find more consistency offensively, shooting 46% from three-point range against Saint Mary’s. UMHB is ninth in the ASC in three-point percentage (.308), but has made up for it by shooting 79.2% from the free-throw line, the conference’s top mark. Johnson leads the ASC in points per game, 28.3, and Luke Feely is third in shooting percentage, 58.6%.
Concordia (TX) (6-3, 3-2 ASC)
Projected Starting Five
Concordia Projected Starting Five
Head Coach: Stan Bonewitz (17th Season)
About the Tornadoes: Fast-paced, physical, and armed with a solid pressing defense, Concordia is much better than its 6-3 record shows. The Tornadoes opened the year with an 82-78 exhibition win over D-I Incarnate Word and took down UT-Dallas and LeTourneau on consecutive days before the break. While 4-0 at home, they are just 2-2 on the road, though they rarely struggle in Belton. Stan Bonewitz’s team can always score, with an average of 87.4 points per game, but ranks last in the ASC in field goal percentage defense, as opponents have shot 47.8 percent against them.
What to expect: Both teams can score at a consistent rate, with a number of offensive weapons on the floor at any given time. The result will come down to which team can get more defensive stops, especially in the second half, and who gets to the free-throw line more often.
Riley Zayas is the managing editor of True To The Cru. He has worked as a sportswriter since 2016 and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.