The Crusader men’s basketball team has had an impressive season full of improvement, finishing with a 20-5 record. They capped off the season with a 28-point win over the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets. After this victory, they headed into the American Southwest Conference championship tournament. UMHB played the East Texas Baptist Tigers in the first round.
The Cru played the Tigers earlier in the season and defeated them with a three-point victory. Many fans were expecting this to be a very close game. However, it is almost as if the Cru basketball players heard these whispers and wanted to silence the naysayers. In the beginning of the first half, it almost seemed as if they were right. The Cru’s offense struggled, missing several shots. However, they started heating up and finished the half catching up to the Tigers with a score of 40-33.
If the Cru wanted to stay in the game, they could not have another slow start in the second half. The offense did a good job at scoring, but they started to fall behind around four minutes into the second half. They slowly started to chip away at that lead and kept a pretty good pace. The Cru caused two turnovers at the five-minute mark and this was when they decided to put their foot down. The Cru saw their opportunity and capitalized on it. This led to a 90-73 victory for UMHB. This win advanced them into the next round, where they faced the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys in Belton.
UMHB fans were filled with excitement as the Cru took the court to play their rival, Hardin-Simmons. The Cru played the Cowboys earlier in the season and defeated them by a whopping 36 points, but the playoffs would be an entirely different story.
The Cru had a fast start to the game and caught the lead early on. They held on to this lead, but the Cowboys slowly started to close that gap. The Cru had a few flashes of offense that would distance them from Hardin-Simmons, but the Cowboys kept closing in on the lead. The Cowboys finished the half with a five-point lead.
The Cru came out strong and took over the lead at the 18-minute mark, but the Cowboys remained in the fight. These flashes of offense continued in the second half, and the Cru was able to force several lead changes by a few points. Despite these offensive maneuvers, the Cowboys took the lead at the 10-minute mark and did not look back.Ultimately, the Crusaders were defeated by HardinSimmons 97-91.
Despite this defeat, the Cru had a great season, and they showed marked improvement from the previous year. As this season comes to a close, fans look forward to what the team has in store next year.