CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — Mary Hardin-Baylor fought back from a 16-point deficit to take the lead with less than 9 minutes left in Sunday’s game, but the Crusaders ran out of gas and saw their 13-game winning streak come to an end with an 89-72 loss to Louisiana in an American Southwest Conference semifinal at Mabee Gym in Clarksville, Ark.
UMHB (16-4) used a 22-6 second-half run to tie the game at 53 and Carson Hammond pushed the Crusaders in front with a 3-pointer to make it 59-56 with 8:48 to go. Louisiana (11-4) responded with an 8-0 spurt, but the Crusaders cut the deficit to two points with a Gibson Hearne 3 that made it 66-64 with 4:24 remaining. The Wildcats ended the game with a 23-8 run to take full control in the late going.
Ty Prince led UMHB with 22 points and Josiah Johnson — who ended the season averaging a team-leading 29.3 points per game — added 20. Hearne finished with 16 points and senior Aedan Welch grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds in his final game for the Crusaders, who shot 39 percent (22-for-56) from the field, were 11-for-35 from 3 and 17-for-20 from the free throw line.
K.J. Bilbo scored 33 points and went 7-for-14 from beyond the 3-point arc for Louisiana, who will play Hardin-Simmons or Ozarks in the conference championship today. The Wildcats shot 54 percent for the game and 64 percent (16-for-25) in the second half.
UMHB trailed 35-26 at halftime and fell behind further after Louisiana opened the second half with a 7-0 run. The Crusaders, which shot just 31 percent in the first half, found better success scoring in the second half and used their notable run to get back into the contest.
The Crusaders defeated Louisiana 74-71 in the teams’ lone meeting this season in January in Belton.