Bulletin Staff Report

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – Howard Payne’s trip to Indiana started on a sour note Wednesday night as the Yellow Jackets fell to the Manchester Spartans, 88-75.

The loss was the second straight for Howard Payne (2-8) after it reeled off its initial two victories of the 2009-10 campaign.

Manchester (7-4) dominated on the glass, pulling down 54 rebounds – including 22 on the offensive end – compared to Howard Payne’s total of 35. The Spartans were also 31-of-45 from the free throw line, while the Yellow Jackets hit 11-of-15 attempts.

Both teams shot 40 percent from the floor, and the Yellow Jackets (29-of-73) attempted 13 more shots than the Spartans (24-of-60). Manchester converted 38 percent (9-of-24) of its three-point tries compared to HPU’s 32 percent (6-of-19) success rate.

Brandon Irwin poured in 26 points for the Yellow Jackets, followed by 10 each from Keith Perry and Henry Valladares. Kanyon Payne, Brit Campbell and Quentin Calloway chipped in six points each, Zane Smith scored five, John Bryant added four and Ronald Wright tallied two points.

Six Spartans finished in double figures, led by Mitch Schaefer’s 17 points. Nathan Ferch added 13 points, Jordan Moss chalked up 11 and Matt Morris, Tyler Delauder and J.T. Hooks added 10 points each.

HPU scored 11 of the game’s first 17 points, but Manchester stormed back to grab a 42-33 halftime lead.

Trailing 6-5 early, the Yellow Jackets reeled off six straight points to open their largest lead of the game just 4:54 into the contest. Payne pushed the Yellow Jackets in front, 7-6, at the 16:33 mark, followed by jumpers from Perry and Valladares.

Manchester eventually pulled even at 16-all at the 11:07 mark, then the Yellow Jackets and Spartans traded the lead six times before HPU went cold.

The Yellow Jackets led as late as the 8:23 juncture of the first half, as Campbell drained a three-pointer to give Howard Payne a 23-22 advantage.

Manchester responded with a 12-0 run over the next 2:34 to establish a 34-23 lead with 5:49 remaining the first half. The Spartans never trailed again.

Three consecutive three-pointers by the Spartans ignited the run, with the first and last coming from Schaefer and the middle trey belonging to Tyler Henn.

In the second half, the Yellow Jackets closed the gap to six points, 48-42, on a layup by Valladares with 14:36 remaining. Manchester fired back with five straight points to reclaim a double-digit lead, 53-42, at the 12:40 juncture.

A three-pointer by Irwin at 7:52 brought Howard Payne back to within single digits, 65-57. Manchester then stretched its lead back to a dozen points before a layup by Irwin trimmed the deficit to 69-61 with 5:30 left.

Once again the Spartans had an answer, however, as five straight points – including a three-pointer by Schaefer with 4:43 left – allowed Manchester to reestablish a 13-point lead, 74-61, which is where the final margin rested.

The Jackets will attempt to rebound at 2 p.m. Saturday when they visit Anderson University (9-1) in Anderson, Ind.