Mary Hardin-Baylor Edges Bearcats, 79-75, at Cru Holiday Classic

Mary Hardin-Baylor Edges Bearcats, 79-75, at Cru Holiday Classic

Mounts Leads Willamette with 28 Points, 18 Rebounds

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

BELTON, TEXAS -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor held off a tenacious Willamette University men's basketball team to defeat the Bearcats, 79-75, in the second round of the Cru Holiday Basketball Classic on Thursday, Dec. 30. UMHB improved to 8-1, but Willamette, now 3-8, battled the home team throughout the game. The score was tied 35-35 at halftime and the Crusaders led by just three points heading into the final minute of play.

Taylor Mounts (Jr., Wing/Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) put together an outstanding game for the Bearcats. He accumulated 28 points and hauled down 18 rebounds. He connected on 11 of 18 field goals and made 6 of 7 free throws.

Ryan Meehan (Jr., Wing, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS/MSU-Billings) scored 11 points and earned four rebounds for the Bearcats. Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) finished the contest with six points, four rebounds and five assists.

Mounts set a career high for rebounds, breaking his previous best of 14, set against West Coast Baptist College on Dec. 5, 2009. His 28 points placed second on his career list, trailing only a 33-point effort against Corban University on Nov. 26 this season.

Quinn Brownfield topped Mary Hardin-Baylor with 17 points and four boards, while hitting 7 of 11 field goals. Kevin Neal added 15 points, seven boards, seven assists and two steals for the Crusaders.

WU led 11-4 after Sean Dart (So., Post, Bend, OR/Mountain View HS/Eastern Oregon Univ.) scored on a layup with 16:18 left in the first half.

Neal hit a 3-pointer for UMHB to cut the lead to four points and Cory Meals followed with a basket for the Crusaders. Even so, the Bearcats remained in front as they answered with a 15-4 run that ended with a 26-13 advantage after Mounts sank a jumper at the 10:04 mark.

Mary Hardin-Baylor countered with a 14-2 run, as the Crusaders pulled within 28-27 at the 3:12 mark. Brownfield contributed three field goals and two free throws during the run. The score stayed close the rest of the half, with UMHB forcing a tie when Dean Pele hit a jumper and a free throw with 21 seconds on the clock.

The teams exchanged baskets and combined for three ties during the first few minutes of the second half. The Bearcats eventually broke a 41-41 tie with a 3-pointer by Terrell Malley (So., G, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) to open a 9-2 run. Willamette was in front 50-43 with 14:01 left in the game.

UMHB recorded the next 13 points, allowing the Cru to surge into a 56-50 lead with 10:01 remaining. Brownfield scored five points with a two-point field goal and a 3-pointer during the run.

The Cru extended the lead to nine points at 61-52 after Kitrick Bell registered a layup with 9:09 on the clock. WU battled back to take a 64-63 lead on a 3-pointer by Marcus Holmes (Sr., G, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS). UMHB tied the game on a free throw by Robert Moore and later owned a 67-64 margin with 4:34 left.

WU forced the game's sixth and final tie at 68-68, as Meehan put in a jump shot at the 2:44 mark. Moore moved the Crusaders in front with a layup at the other end of the court with 2:14 remaining. Following a turnover by the Bearcats, the lead reached 72-68 on a layup by Sterling Phillips with 1:52 to go.

A free throw by Cory Lowe (Grad., Post, Beaverton, OR/Beaverton HS) and a layup by Malley pulled WU within a single point with 1:29 left. James Allen added a basket for UMHB with 1:10 remaining to give the Cru a 74-71 edge.

Dart missed a jumper for Willamette with 54 seconds on the clock, and Neal tacked on a layup for the Crusaders with 28 seconds left. Mary Hardin-Baylor sank 3 of 4 free throws the rest of the way to hold off the Bearcats.

Willamette shot 42.9% on field goals (13 of 32) and hit 6 of 24 three-pointers. The Bearcats were successful on 15 of 21 free throws (71.4%), including 9 of 11 in the second d half.

UMHB connected on 41.2% of its field goals (28 of 68), but made just 3 of 17 three-pointers. The Cru hit 20 of 34 free throws (58.8%.

Mary Hardin-Baylor won the tournament with a 2-0 record. East Texas Baptist University and Texas Lutheran University each went 1-1, while Willamette was 0-2. ETBU downed Texas Lutheran, 76-68, in the other second round game.

Univ. of Mary Hardin-Baylor 79
Willamette University 75

Taylor Mounts contributed 28 points and 18 rebounds for the Bearcats.