Bulletin Staff Report

PINEVILLE, La. - Thanks to their second consecutive victory, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets have vaulted into third place in the American Southwest Conference West Division standings.

Following last weekend’s 73-65 win over Sul Ross - the Yellow Jackets’ initial victory of the 2009-10 campaign - Howard Payne downed the Louisiana College Wildcats, 73-30, Saturday afternoon.

Howard Payne (2-6, 2-4) now trails only McMurry (5-2, 3-1) and Mary Hardin-Baylor (5-2, 4-2) in the West, and the top four teams will advance to the conference tournament - hosted by the West champion - Feb. 26-28.

In the win over Louisiana College (4-6, 3-3), the Yellow Jackets shot 47 percent (30-of-64) from the floor and 73 percent (11-of-15) from the free throw line, while turning the ball over just 11 times. The Wildcats, meanwhile, connected on 42 percent (25-of-60) of their shots, 37 percent of their three-pointers (10-of-27) and only 50 percent (10-of-20) of their free throw attempts.

Though Louisiana College owned a 35-33 edge in rebounds, Howard Payne dominated in paints in the paint. The Yellow Jackets recorded just six points from the beyond the three-point arc, while the Wildcats converted just 15 two-point buckets.

John Bryant and Keith Perry tallied 14 points apiece to lead Howard Payne, followed by 10 points each from Henry Valladares and Daniel Bubel. Quentin Calloway chipped in nine points off the bench, while Brandon Irwin and Kanyon Payne scored eight points apiece.

Perry just missed a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds, while Bubel grabbed six boards.

For Louisiana College, Jarrod Jackson scored a game-high 26 points with eight rebounds, followed by Chukwuma Eken with 12 points and eight boards.

Howard Payne led by as many as a dozen points, 60-48, with 7:43 remaining in the contest before Louisiana College made a late charge and trimmed the deficit to a single point, 68-67, with 1:21 left.

Irwin drained a jumper to give HPU a 70-67 edge with 1:04 remaining, then Perry added two free throws to push the advantage to 72-67 with 20 seconds on the clock.

Jackson nailed a three-pointer to make the score 72-70 with 13 seconds left, while Perry hit a free throw to stretch the lead back to three points, 73-70. The Wildcates were unable to force overtime, however, as they missed two three-point attempts in the last eight seconds.

Behind a 53 percent (18-of-34) shooting performance in the first half, the Yellow Jackets raced out to a 40-31 halftime lead.

Trailing 18-17 with 12:21 left in the first half, HPU went on an 8-2 run to grab a 25-20 lead with 8:53 left in the first half. The Jackets never trailed again.

Two free throws by Bubel gave HPU a 19-18 edge, then Bryant sank a pair of jumpers and Calloway scored a bucket. The Jackets’ first half lead peaked at 10 points, 36-26, on a Payne bucket at the 2:54 mark.

HPU will attempt to notch its third consecutive victory when it visits No. 17 Mississippi College (8-0, 5-0) - an 89-84 winner over Sul Ross Saturday - at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Jackets have won the last two over MC.