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Schreiner’s season ends with NCAA loss on road, 81-78

The Mountaineers pushed Mary Hardin-Baylor to the limit, but couldn’t close the Crusaders out to advance out the first round of the NCAA tournament.

BELTON — Schreiner University men’s basketball team pushed it to the limit, and it was almost enough Friday night — almost.

The Mountaineers couldn’t hold off the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Division III basketball tournament in an 81-78 loss. Schreiner finished the season at 15-14

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Schreiner’s Darian Gibson scored a season-high 25 points for the Mountaineers.

Despite 25 points from Darian Gibson and 19 from Dylan Mackey, the Mountaineers couldn’t slow the size and girth of the Crusaders, who advanced to Saturday’s second round against East Texas Baptist.


In a way, this was like a great boxing match, with tournament-tested Crusaders coming out swinging to build an early 10-point lead. But the Crusaders couldn’t knock the Mountaineers out.

Schreiner was impeccable from 3-point range, with Gibson hitting six and Mackey connecting on four. Reserve A.J. Aungst hit two down the stretch, including one that cut the Crusaders’ lead to one in the closing seconds.

Gibson’s performance was transcendent. Not only did he finish the night nine-of-15 shooting, but he played 35 minutes while matched up against standout guard Josiah Johnson, who was limited to eight points. Gibson’s performance was a season-high and the second best of his Schreiner career.

Schreiner coach Marwan Elrakabawy said his team fought through, and the finish was disappointing. It had been a season of highs and lows even before Friday night’s loss.

“I think that’s the lesson is that there’s there’s no there’s no mythical Mountaintop that we can’t reach right?” Elrakabawy said. “We’ve got everything we need here to be competitive, to be in these kinds of games, to play with teams ranked in the top of the nation.”

Guard Alex Dehoyos finished his Schreiner career with seven points before fouling out with 3:59 left in the game. Dehoyos completes his collegiate career as one of the greats in the program’s history, helping lead the Mountaineers to their second NCAA tournament appearance.

“I mean I couldn’t want anything more to be in this position right here at the NCAA tournament, my first berth ever,” Dehoyos said. “So the last couple games have been, you know, survive and advance and just telling the guys that you know, you don’t get this opportunity every year and you know how hard it is to get here.”

And this was what Schreiner’s season typified — closeness. The Mountaineers have been in 19 games decided by less than 10 points. And on Friday, they had a second-half onslaught that saw them shoot 56.7% from the field — and still lose.

Sophomore center Kamden Ross had another dominant game, especially in the face of the huge Crusaders’ post players. Ross finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.


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