ABILENE, Texas - The McMurry University men's basketball team (12-4) got great play from its' front court and held its' opponent under 60 points for the second straight game as it defeated the University of Texas – Permian Basin, 67-57 on Saturday afternoon.
The Falcons got on the board first on a jumper by Xavier Martin and the game quickly became tied at 3-3 on a layup by Connor Robinson with 16:46 left in the half. The two teams exchanged leads and were tied two more times over the first ten minutes until another Robinson layup put McMurry up by one, 13-12, with 8:56 to go. That bucket would prove to be the last time the lead would change hands.
A three-pointer by Brock Kimball with 2:37 left in the half would give McMurry its' largest lead of the frame, 24-18, before UTPB cut the lead to three by the end of the half. The teams went into the break with McM up, 24-21.
Defense was the name of the game in the first half, as both teams held each other under 40 percent shooting. Chris Campbell led all scorers at the break with seven points. McMurry also took advantage of seven Falcon miscues, which turned into 11 points off turnovers.
Both offenses picked up quickly in the second half as UTPB tied the game on the first shot of the half on a three by Rob Heyer. The War Hawks would re-take the lead on a quick, 6-0, run with two baskets coming from Alfred Perez, which put McM ahead, 32-26, with 17:20 to play.
McM would then extend their lead to 11 points (48-37) on a jumper by Takoby Jackson with 7:45 to play in regulation time. UTPB quickly cut the lead back to nine points on the next position, but over the final seven minutes of play, the lead would swell to as many as 14 points before the War Hawks eventually took the 10-point victory, 67-57.
Perez, who did most of his damage in the second stanza, finished with a game-high, 15 points. After going two-for-four in the first half, the big man in the middle went five-for-five with 11 points in the second half. He also finished with five rebounds, including three on the offensive glass.
Joining Perez in double figures were Campbell and Jackson, who finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Jackson also finished with seven rebounds on the contest to go along with two assists and a steal.
Forwards, Robinson and Kaylim Noel, also played vital roles in the War Hawks victory. Noel, who went scoreless in the first half, shot four-for-four from the field in the second-half to finish with nine points on the night. Robinson proved to be a work-horse in the game, as he did it all, registering eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Antonio Bell finished the day with seven points and added four assists, while Kimball finished with three points, and Thomas Brandsma added a basket.
Overall, McM registered more assists than turnovers for the second straight contest (14 assists/13 turnovers). They also shot over 50 percent from the field, including shooting 69.2 percent in the second half (18-of-26).
Defensively, the War Hawks played lock-down defense for most of the night, holding UTPB to 39 percent shooting, while collecting seven blocks and eight steals. McMurry also out-rebounded the Falcons, 35-31. UTPB's 57 points marks the seventh time this season that the War Hawks have held their opponent to under 60 points (7-0 in those games).
McMurry will be back in action on Wednesday, January 30 when they travel to Stephenville, Texas for a battle with Tarleton State University. That contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.