UMHB basketball

UMHB's LaKendric Hyson (4) looks for the layup against Concordia's Joe Neal (24) during game action at the Mayborn Campus Center on the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor grounds in Belton on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. Michael Miller/Telegram

Michael Miller

BELTON — Mary Hardin-Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball teams enter their respective American Southwest Conference tournaments with the same tasks ahead of them: win three games in a three-day span to earn automatic bids to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Crusaders (17-8) begin their quest for a conference title at noon today against East Texas Baptist (19-6) in a quarterfinal of the men’s tourney in Alpine.

UMHB — the No. 2 seed from the ASC West Division — lost the teams’ regular-season meeting 106-96 in Marshall back in December. Junior guard Demarius Cress averages a team-high 15.4 points per game for the Crusaders, who have four players averaging double-digit point production.

Today’s winner will face LeTourneau (22-3) or Howard Payne (11-14) in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday. The championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Lady Crusaders (21-4) won the West and are the division’s top seed heading into their matchup with Louisiana College (14-10) at 2:30 p.m. today in a quarterfinal of the women’s tournament in Richardson.

UMHB posted a 79-67 victory over LC in the regular-season meeting in Belton last month. Lady Crusaders sophomore guard Hannah Holt is the conference’s leading scorer at 18.7 points per game.

Today’s winner will face Texas-Tyler (17-8) or Concordia Texas (14-11) in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday. The championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday.

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