SEGUIN, Texas-The 15th-ranked UMHB men’s basketball team plays in Texas for the first time this season when the Crusaders travel to Texas Lutheran on Wednesday night. The Cru is seeking its second 3-0 start under head coach Clif Carroll, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the program.
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Setting the Stage
Mary Hardin-Baylor (2-0, 0-0 ASC) at Texas Lutheran (0-2, 0-0 SCAC)
Date/Time: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6:00 p.m. CST
Location: Seguin, Texas (Memorial Gymnasium)
Follow the action
WATCH: @tluathletics on YouTube
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Postgame story on TrueToTheCru.com.
The Cru and Bulldogs have battled 33 times on the basketball court, with UMHB holding a 25-8 series lead. That includes an 8-2 record in the last 10 meetings, though UMHB’s last loss came in Seguin, when TLU won in a nailbiter, 87-84, on Nov. 15, 2016.
The Crusaders hold an 11-6 record in games played in Seguin, and won the last meeting, 62-57, during the 2019-20 season. This will be the first time Carroll faces TLU as UMHB’s head coach. Carroll did face TLU twice when he was the head coach at Sul Ross State, and won both matchups by double digits.
Scouting the Bulldogs
TLU comes off a pair of losses in Abilene to Hardin-Simmons and McMurry this past weekend. The Bulldogs led McMurry, 39-35, at halftime on Saturday, but gave up the lead for the final time on a McMurry free throw with 45 seconds left. McMurry went on to win, 75-73, as TLU’s Ladarius King missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.
Through two games, junior forward Easton Allen is TLU’s leading scorer, at 14.0 points per game. A native of New Braunfels, Texas, who played at Marion High School, Allen is in his second season as a starter. He comes off a 16-point showing at McMurry.
Sophomore guard Mason Wallace averages 12.0 points and junior guard Isaac Orozco has 10.5. Allen is also the leading rebounder, at 7.5 boards per contest. Both Wallace and Orozco average 2.0 assists per game as well, aiding in the offensive effort. Orozco also comes off a pair of multi-steal performances against HSU and McMurry, and enters Wednesday’s game with five steals on the season.
TLU is head coached by Austin Falke, who is in his second season leading the program. A Thorndale, Texas product, Falke played collegiately at D-I Stephen F. Austin, and later assistant coached under UMHB alum, and current Trinity (TX) head coach, Jimmy Smith, at Schreiner. Falke has been at TLU since 2014, serving as an assistant coach before taking the head coaching job.
A stellar backcourt
UMHB’s guard play was terrific in its wins over UW-Stout and Illinois Wesleyan this past weekend. First Team D3hoops.com Preseason All-American Josiah Johnson was the high-volume scorer at the Sikma Invitational, with 22 points against Stout and 21 in the marquee win over IWU. Not to mention his five assists and eight steals, which equally contributed to UMHB’s success. He took home tournament MVP honors, and Maurice Pinnock also was named to the All-Tournament team, with 28 total points over the two victories. The transfer from Blinn College also had five assists. Kyle Wright is also a major contributor as an experienced player who scores consistently, and has good vision when it comes to making well-placed passes. Payton Brooks and Eli Beard also contributed in noticeable ways at the guard position in Illinois, as UMHB has exceptional depth in the backcourt.
Limiting turnovers and forcing them on the defensive end
UMHB did well in its first two matchups when it came to forcing turnovers as well as limiting ones of their own. The Cru turned the ball over just nine times against IWU and seven times against UW-Stout, while forcing 35 on the weekend. 24 of those came against Stout, but the 11 against IWU were key in UMHB staying in control, and gaining its lead, especially in the first half. The Crusaders rank No. 1 in the ASC in turnover margin, at 9.50.
On the horizon
This is UMHB’s lone game of the week before taking a nine-day break and resuming non-conference play at St. Thomas (TX) in Houston on Nov. 24.