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What to know before UMHB men’s basketball battles Christopher Newport in the Sweet 16

Photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru

For the second straight year, the UMHB men’s basketball team is on the road for the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. After taking down Schreiner and ETBU in narrow victories in Belton this past weekend, the Cru heads to Newport News, Virginia, facing No. 2-ranked Christopher Newport in the Sweet 16 tonight. 

There is no shortage of anticipation entering the matchup, considering both teams are battle-tested and ranked in the Top 20 of the Top 25 poll. Not to mention, the game will be played at CNU, so a large crowd is expected to be on hand. 

Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, and the contest will be streamed live on Follow us on Twitter (@TrueToTheCru) for updates throughout the day.

Team Snapshot

#17 UMHB Crusaders

Conference: American Southwest

Head Coach: Clif Carroll (3rd season)

Overall record: 23-5, 16-2 ASC

In last 10 games: 9-1

#2 Christopher Newport Captains

Conference: Coast-to-Coast

Head Coach: John Krikorian (11th season)

Overall record: 26-3, 0-0 C2C

In last 10 games: 10-0

The road to the sectional

Christopher Newport’s dominant season continued in the C2C Tournament, where the Captains defeated UC Santa Cruz and Mary Washington en route to an automatic NCAA Tournament bid. CNU survived an upset bid from Farmingdale State in the first round on Friday, trailing 32-22 at halftime, before coming back to win 61-60. They then advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 72-59 win over Hampden-Sydney in the second round. 

UMHB ran through the regular season, winning the ASC’s regular season title for the second straight year. Hardin-Simmons upset the Cru in the conference tournament semifinals, though UMHB earned an at-large bid to the national tournament. On their home court last weekend, the Crusaders came away with narrow victories over both Schreiner and ETBU, winning by a combined five points. Josah Johnson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer against ETBU sent the Cru dancing on to the Sweet 16. 

Notable numbers

After leading the nation in blocked shots a year ago, CNU is third amongst D-III programs in blocks this season, averaging 5.6 per game through 29 contests. Trey Barber has 68 this season for the Captains, good enough for the sixth-best individual number in the country. 

UMHB has been incredibly efficient when it comes to offense, and that has led to a high percentage of made shots for The Cru. They rank 11th in the nation in field goal percentage, converting on 48.75 percent of their shooting attempts and ranked 18th in points per game (84.2). 

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Jahn Hines is a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end, averaging 17.1 points per game. In the semifinal round of the C2C Tournament, Hines put 31 points on the board in a win over UC Santa Cruz, and has started 27 games this season for CNU. A 6’4 junior from Norfolk, Virginia, Hines was the C2C’s Player of the Year in 2021-22. Trey Barber is also a key contributor for CNU, and was voted the C2C Tournament MVP. 

In addition to leading scorer Josiah Johnson, the ASC Player of the Year, and an all-around strong starting five, UMHB’s bench has been productive as well, led by senior forward Luke Feely. Feely came through with 20 points in the first-round win over Schreiner last Friday and has scored in double digits in three of the last five games. He also tallied 30 rebounds over the course of the previous four matchups. 

Up Next

The winner of this contest will face the winner of Friday’s sectional semifinal between Wheaton and St. Joseph’s (CT). That matchup is set to play on Saturday evening in Newport News.

Hear from CNU head coach John Krikorian on Bob Quillman’s Q-Cast

Hear from UMHB bead coach Clif Carroll on Monday’s episode of Hoopsville (segment begins @ 1:27:00)

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