The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets hung around through the first half, but the NCAA Division II Incarnate Word Cardinals’ second-half offensive fireworks brought an end to HPU’s three-game win streak.
Incarnate Word converted 11-of-20 three-point attempts in the second half alone en route to scoring 61 points after halftime as the Cardinals pulled away for a 92-67 win Saturday afternoon at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets - who also lost at Incarnate Word, 106-74, in the Nov. 18 season opener - experienced their first defeat since Dec. 6.
“They deserve a lot of respect,” said HPU acting head coach Troy Drummond of the Cardinals. “Coach (Ken) Burmeister does a great job. I’ve known him since 1989 when he was the head coach at UTSA. He’s very oriented as far as what he wants done and he makes sure they do it. And that’s what they did in the second half.”
Four Cardinals finished in double figures, led by 25 points from Pierce Caldwell. Chris Patterson added 17 points, while a dozen each came from Jawan Bailey and Tracy Robinson.
Incarnate Word (8-2) attempted 32 three-pointers and converted 13 (41 percent), and overall the Cardinals were 30-of-68 (44 percent) from the floor. Defensively, the much taller Cardinals squeaked out a 37-35 edge in rebounds, but forced 22 turnovers.
“After the game I told them you will not see this kind of pressure again,” Drummond said.
Tom Hermann led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds, trailed by 14 points from Bryan Blalock and 10 points from ASC West Player of the Week Brandon Irwin. Also scoring for Howard Payne were Zane Smith with eight points, Daytona Burch with six, Karl Wesley with four and Quentin Calloway with two points.
The Yellow Jackets also sank 44 percent (27-of-62) of their field goals, 29 percent (5-of-17) of their three-point attempts and all eight of their free throws.
The score was even at 31-all at halftime, and Howard Payne led for the final time, 35-34, with 17:05 left following two Smith free throws.
With 14:41 to go, the Yellow Jackets trailed just 44-41. But Incarnate Word reeled off 21 of the next 25 points to open a 20-point cushion, 65-45, with 8:53 left in the game.
The Cardinals tallied six straight points before a Wesley jumper brought Howard Payne within 50-43 at the 12:24 mark. The next Yellow Jacket bucket came from Calloway at 11:48, which made the score 52-45.
Incarnate Word then chalked up 13 unanswered points, with the first six coming on three-pointers by Caldwell and Patterson that put the Yellow Jackets in a 58-45 hole - their largest deficit to that point - with 10:46 left.
Bailey added a dunk, then Caldwell hit two free throws and a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 65-45.
The Yellow Jackets cut the deficit to 16 points, 65-49, following a layup by Hermann, but got no closer.
Incarnate Word’s largest lead of 26 points, 82-56, came at the 3:03 mark after a Kenneth Anderson layup.
Howard Payne jumped out to an early 11-5 lead as Hermann drilled two three-pointers, Irwin added one and Blalock scored a bucket inside.
But Incarnate Word responded with 18 of the next 20 points to open a 23-13 lead with 11:30 left in the half.
The Yellow Jackets gradually chipped away at the UIW lead, however, and drew even at 31 with eight seconds left before halftime on a bucket by Perry.
Howard Payne (3-7, 3-5 in ASC) will attempt to rebound Tuesday when it hosts Anderson at 3 p.m. as part of the Underwood’s Christmas Classic.
Incarnate Word 92,
Yellow Jackets 67
UIW 31 61 - 92
HPU 31 36 - 67 Leading scorers
UIW: Pierce Caldwell 25, Chris Patterson 17, Jawan Bailey 12, Tracy Robinson 12, Garrett Bell 8, Deleon Hines 8, Kenneth Anderson 4, Eric Nuncio 3, Shawn Umeh 3.
HPU: Tom Hermann 16, Bryan Blalock 14, Brandon Irwin 10, Zane Smith 8, Keith Perry 7, Daytona Burch 6, Karl Wesley 4, Quentin Calloway 2.