Bulletin Staff Report
KERRVILLE ó The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets will carry a two-game win streak into the American Southwest Conference championship tournament following Saturdayís 78-58 victory over the Schreiner Mountaineers in the regular season finale.
The Yellow Jackets (13-12, 11-10), who earned the fourth seed out of the ASC West division, will challenge ASC East champion Mississippi College (19-5, 16-4) at noon Friday in Belton in the first round of the tournament.
Though HPU is only 2-3 in its last five contests, all three losses were by seven points or less to ASC tournament teams Hardin-Simmons (69-62), Mary Hardin-Baylor (71-68) and Concordia (83-77).
Saturdayís 20-point victory over the Mountaineers (5-20, 5-16) was the Yellow Jacketsí largest margin of victory this season and it improved HPUís record away from home to 7-6.
The Yellow Jackets shot 51 percent (26-of-51) from the floor, 40 percent (6-of-15) from three-point territory and 80 percent (20-of-25) from the free throw line.
Howard Payne also dominated on the glass with 34 rebounds to Schreinerís 25, and the Yellow Jackets committed a season-low nine turnovers.
Lee Scott drained four of the Yellow Jacket three-pointers and finished with 19 points, followed by 12 points off the bench from Bryan Blalock and 10 points each from Deandray McDaniel and Tom Hermann.
Also scoring for Howard Payne were Daytona Burch with nine points, Chris Cornwell with eight, Brock Woods with six and Gary Thompson with four points.
The Yellow Jackets led by nine points on three occasions in the first half before settling for a 40-32 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Howard Payne continued its torrid shooting offensively, while the defense cranked up its intensity and limited Schreiner to 26 points.
The Yellow Jackets have allowed just 58 points in both of their last two games, a considerable improvement over the 73.4 points per game they had allowed on average during the regular season.
In the first meeting of the season between HPU and Mississippi College on Jan. 12 at Clinton, Miss., the Yellow Jackets were dealt an 83-67 loss.
Mississippi College has won the ASC championship five times, including the past two seasons. The Choctaws defeated Howard Payne in the championship game at the Brownwood Coliseum in 2006 and knocked off Hardin-Simmons in Mississippi last year.
The Yellow Jackets did not qualify for last seasonís ASC tournament.