Needing a victory to keep their postseason dream alive, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets halted a seven-game American Southwest Conference slide with a 70-67 win over Louisiana College in Saturday’s home finale at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Howard Payne (5-18, 5-15), which won for just the second time in its last 13 outings, moved within 1.5 games of East Texas Baptist (8-14, 6-13) for the final berth in the ASC tournament. ETBU is currently in ninth place in the standings, but eighth-place Mississippi College (9-13, 7-12) cannot advance to the postseason as it is leaving the conference for the NCAA Division II ranks next season.

Ozarks (8-15, 6-14) also remains a hurdle for the Yellow Jackets with two games remaining, as Howard Payne will visit last-place LeTourneau (4-18, 3-16) Thursday then close the year at East Texas Baptist Saturday in a game that could determine the final tournament berth.

The Yellow Jackets are seeking their first ASC tournament appearance since 2008, and first berth under head coach Troy Drummond.

“Our conference from top to bottom is as strong as it’s ever been and we’ve put ourselves in position to be playing for something the last two games,” Drummond said. “We always want to finish strong, and having a shot at making the tournament is a major plus.”

The Yellow Jackets limited Louisiana College to 39 percent (23 of 59) percent shooting with 20 turnovers. Though Howard Payne knocked down only 40 percent (19 of 47) of its shots, the Yellow Jackets hit 46 percent (6 of 13) of their three-pointers and picked up 26 points at the free throw line, nine more than Louisiana College.

Jorden Young led Howard Payne with 17 points followed by 15 from Brandon Gould, 11 from senior Ross Whittet playing in his final game at the Coliseum, nine each from Donovan Ford and Nigele Robertson, eight points and 10 rebounds from Quelan Lancaster and one point from Blake Arbogast.

Louisiana College received 20 points from Kevin Lewis, 18 from Doc Welch and 11 points from Kevin Cottonham.

The Yellow Jackets squandered a 12-point halftime lead in Thursday’s 83-75 home loss to Mississippi College. Leading 33-27 at the break against Louisiana College, Howard Payne surrendered 14 of the first 15 points to fall in a 41-34 hole with 14:23 remaining.

This time, however, Howard Payne had an answer as it reeled off 10 straight points to reclaim the lead, 44-41, at the 11:38 juncture.

Louisiana College trimmed the deficit to 53-52 with 6:03 left, but HPU gradually extended the lead to five points, 63-58, on a trey by Gould at the 3:16 mark.

In front 65-62 with 1:19 remaining, the Yellow Jackets scored five points in a row — four by Gould and one by Young — to open a 70-62 advantage with 17 seconds left.


Conference Overall


*UT-Dallas 19 1 21 2

Hardin-Simmons 16 4 16 7

Concordia 13 7 16 7

Mary Hardin-Baylor 13 7 15 8

UT-Tyler 12 8 13 10

Louisiana College 9 10 9 12

Sul Ross 9 11 10 13

x-Mississippi College 7 12 9 13

East Texas Baptist 6 13 8 14

Ozarks 6 14 8 15

Howard Payne 5 15 5 18

LeTourneau 3 16 4 18

* will host ASC Tournament; x-ineligible for postseason


Saturday’s Results

Howard Payne 70, Louisiana College 67

Mississippi College 68, Sul Ross 64 (OT)

Hardin-Simmons 82, East Texas Baptist 71

UT-Dallas 75, LeTourneau 52

Mary Hardin-Baylor 84, UT-Tyler 63

Ozarks 89, Concordia 85