The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets attempted to knock Mississippi College from the ranks of the unbeaten Thursday night in American Southwest Conference menís basketball action at the Brownwood Coliseum, but the Choctaws countered every surge the Jackets made.

Mississippi College left town with a 76-70 victory to improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in conference action, while the Yellow Jackets slipped to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in ASC competition.

The Choctaws shot 42 percent (28 of 67) from the floor and 44 percent (7 of 16) on three-pointers, which made up for a 57 percent (13 of 23) performance at the free throw line.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets converted just 37 percent (24 of 65) of their shots, but 46 percent (11 of 24) of their treys and 73 percent (11 of 15) of their free throws.

Howard Payne also trailed 49-41 in rebounds and committed 24 turnovers to 22 by Mississippi College.

The Yellow Jackets received 16 points from Donovan Ford, a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds from JaKalan Gayden, 13 points from Brand Gould, 11 from Travis Taillet, eight from Christian Davis, five from Michael Thompson and three points from Nigele Robertson.

Mississippi College was led by 23 points from Brandon Blake, 16 from Daryl Duncan and 14 from Turmonte Ragland.

The Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as 13 points, 42-29, with 16:54 remaining in the contest, but gradually whittled away Mississippi Collegeís lead, pulling even at 52 on a three-pointer from Ford with 8:30 left.

Fordís long ball capped a 9-0 run for the Yellow Jackets, which featured four points from Gayden and five from Ford.

Mississippi College answered with six straight points before HPU closed to within 58-57 with 6:17 to go, thanks to a Robertson three and two Thompson free throws.

The Choctaws stretched the lead to 66-57, while the Jackets later crept within 66-64 with 3:08 to go after a Gould trey. Mississippi College, however, owned the final run of the game.†