BELTON — The Mary Hardin-Baylor football team will play the 2011 regular season home finale this Saturday when the Cru plays host to Sul Ross State for a 1 p.m. kickoff this Saturday at Tiger Field.

UMHB can clinch at least a share of the American Southwest Conference championship and claim the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships with a win over the Lobos (2-6, 1-5 ASC). The Cru are 8-0 overall and have a 6-0 mark in ASC play and will enter the game ranked fourth in the nation by both major polls.

The Cru have won 13 previous meetings with Sul Ross State and 17 straight ASC games and 50 of its last 51 league contests. Sul Ross State enters the game coming off a 49-42 overtime victory over Mississippi College last Saturday.

UMHB could clinch the outright conference crown with victories in the final two regular season games. Two more victories would also keep the Cru in contention for a No. 1 seed in the postseason.

The Cru have won or shared eight of the last nine ASC titles and has advanced to the playoffs in nine of the last ten seasons. |A victory on Saturday would extend both of those streaks. Lase season, the Cru overcame a slow start and erupted for a school-record point total to blast the Lobos 76-12 in Alpine. The Cru are coming off a 57-6 pounding of Howard Payne last Saturday in Brownwood.

RICHARDSON — The Mary Hardin-Baylor volleyball team had chances to put McMurry away, but could not hold off the War Hawks fourth and fifth set rallies in a 3-2 loss in the second round of the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament.

UMHB falls to 21-10 on the season with the 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 17-15 loss Thursday in Richardson.

Former Copperas Cove standout Tina Miller topped UMHB with 24 kills, Kimberly Smidovec added 14, Sophia Alexiou chipped in 13 kills and Morgan Baker and Kaydie Cochran had 11 kills apiece. Anissa Garcia had 66 assists and 13 digs. Elise Butler posted a team-best 19 digs and Jasmine Austin (14), Baker (14) and Cochran (12) also reached double figures in digs for the Cru.

The Cru faces UT-Tyler in an elimination game tomorrow at noon. The winner of that game will advance to another elimination game at 7:30.

Earlier in the day, the Cru grabbed an early lead and then battled back from a third-set deficit to post a 3-0 victory over Texas Lutheran University in the opening match of the tournament. UMHB swept through the Bulldogs to post a 25-19, 25-21, 29-27 victory. Miller led UMHB with 12 kills and Smidovec added 11 more.

Garcia posted team-highs with 36 assists and 21 digs. Butler added 14 digs and Baker chipped in with 10. The Cru hit .257 as a team and posted 9 team blocks in the victory.

AUSTIN — Division II St. Edwards’ University let Mary Hardin-Baylor erase two sizable leads, but not a Hilltoppers’ exhibition win at home Thursday night.

St. Edwards squandered a 19-point halftime lead, but Khaliq Gross hit a 3-pointer and Shimeek Johnson and Zilijan Jones hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute to give the Hilltoppers the 82-78 win.

St. Edwards closed the first half with a 22-6 run to take a 46-27 lead at halftime, but the Cru responded in the second, and cut the Hilltoppers’ lead to 52-51 on a James Allen 3-pointer with 12:23 left. Kitrick Bell hit a layup to give UMHB its first lead of the game and Marlon Miller’s 3-pointer with 7:03 to go stretched the lead to 67-60.

The Hilltoppers used an 11-4 run to tie the game at 71 with 3:31 left and Gross’ 3-pointer gave St. Edwards’ a 79-76 lead with just 59 seconds left.

Greg Wiernas cut the lead to 79-78, but St. Edwards’ Johnson and Jones iced the win in the final seconds.

Miller led UMHB with 18 points and Allen added 16. Bell posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Cory Meals also chipped in 10. Remy Boswell led St. Edwards with 18 points and nine rebounds and Johnson finished with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

The Cru open their season at Southwestern University in Georgetown in a Nov. 22 non-conference game at 7:30 p.m. and return to the Mayborn Campus Center Nov. 26th to host Centenary College in their home-opener.

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