MARSHALL — The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets collected their first victory of the season Tuesday night, downing American Southwest Conference rival East Texas Baptist, 75-68, in a non-conference encounter.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) raced out to a 42-28 halftime lead but were forced to rally late in the second half to snatch the victory. Howard Payne trailed 68-62 with 1:28 remaining and closed the game on a 13-0 run.
“I was proud of the way our guys stayed the course of the game and fought,” said Yellow Jackets head coach Troy Drummond. “They had a chance to fold and quit playing after ETBU took the lead, but they kept playing until the final buzzer went off. It was a total team win. Every person contributed including our guys on the bench.”
Brandon Gould scored 26 points to pace the Yellow Jackets followed by 14 points from Christian Davis, 11 points and 10 rebounds from JaKalan Gayden, seven points from Michael Thompson, six points apiece from Blake Arbogast and Jorden Young, four from Travis Taillet and one point from Quelan Lancaster.
The Yellow Jackets shot 46 percent (26 of 57) overall and 58 percent (7 of 12) on three-pointers. HPU also sank 73 percent (16 of 22) of its free throws.
East Texas Baptist (2-1) converted just 39 percent (27 of 70) of its field goals, 19 percent of its treys (5 of 27) and 64 percent (9 of 14) of its free throws.
Howard Payne also owned a 28-24 edge in rebounds and forced 16 turnovers.
Trailing 68-62 with 88 seconds remaining, HPU crept within three points on a traditional three-point play by Gould, who then drained a three-pointer with 59 seconds left to even the score at 68.
A steal by Ross Whittet with 43 seconds left set up the go-ahead three-pointer from Taillet with 24 seconds remaining, staking HPU to a 71-68 lead.
ETBU failed to score on its next trip down the court and, following a defensive rebound by Gayden with 11 seconds left, Gould sank two free throws to extend the lead to 73-68 with five seconds remaining.
Young added another bucket before time expired for the final seven-point margin.
The Yellow Jackets open American Southwest Conference action at 3 p.m. Saturday when they host UT-Tyler. Howard Payne and East Texas Baptist will meet again in ASC action on Dec. 15 at the Brownwood Coliseum.