Trailing by nine points with 4:17 left in regulation, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets rallied to force overtime, then completed their comeback by controlling the extra session for a 93-88 victory over LeTourneau.
In the American Southwest Conference opener for both teams Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum, the Yellow Jackets (2-3, 1-0) buried 12 three-pointers en route to shooting 47 percent (30 of 64) from the floor. Howard Payne also owned a 46-41 edge in rebounds.
Rickey Guillory led the charge for Howard Payne with 24 points followed by Shadd Cole with 20, Khyce Randall with 17, J Bailey with 11, De’Marcus Hurd with nine, Talen Davis-Renfro and Donovan Jenkins with four points apiece and David Dingle and Thomas Bingham with two points each.
LeTourneau (3-2, 0-1) committed just 11 turnovers and knocked down 45 percent (34 of 75) of its shots — led by 16 points from Bryson Erby, 15 from Jeff Martin, 13 from Caleb Loggins and 12 points from Caylab Herrera.
In overtime, HPU snapped an 83-all tie with a pair of Cole free throws, then a dunk from Bailey with 2:30 left stretched the lead to 87-83. LeTourneau closed the gap to 87-85 on a bucket from Martin, but a Guillory free throw increased the lead back to 88-85 with 1:32 to go. Guillory then delivered the dagger with 14 seconds to go, draining a three-pointer.
Trailing by a 76-67 count with just over four minutes left, HPU’s rally started with a layup by Randall, who then followed with a trey to cut the deficit to 76-72 with 3:15 remaining. The Jackets and LeTourneau then exchanged free throws ahead of a Cole three-pointer which brought Howard Payne within a point, 77-76, with 2:17 left.
Guillory evened the score at 77 on a free throw with 1:12 remaining, but a three-pointer from Erby pushed LeTourneau back in front, 80-77, with 51 seconds left.
HPU answered with two free throws from Hurd, while LeTourneau converted just one on the other end, leaving the score at 81-79 with 24 seconds remaining. Hurd sank two more free throws to knot the score with eight seconds left, while LeTourneau missed a buzzer-beater.
The Yellow Jackets will seek a 2-0 start to conference play when UT-Tyler visits at 3 p.m. Saturday.