ARLINGTON — Taking a break from American Southwest Conference action, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets faced their second NCAA Division I foe of the regular season Saturday afternoon.
As is usually the case when Division III opponents tangle with scholarship Division I programs, the Yellow Jackets came up on the short end of an 89-50 decision against the UT-Arlington Mavericks.
Howard Payne also dropped a 68-39 contest at Division I Texas State on Nov. 30.
Saturday’s loss was the second straight for Howard Payne after opening ASC action with a pair of victories that moved the Yellow Jackets within one win of the .500 mark.
The Yellow Jackets (2-5, 2-1 in ASC) — who shot just 28 percent (19 of 68) from the floor and 42 percent (5 of 12) at the free throw line — received 14 points from Khyce Randall, eight from Ty Davis, six from Evan Vaden, five each from Brandon Gould and Jorden Young, four from Blake Arbogast, three apiece from Colby Byrd and Curtis Gile and two points from Sterling Smoak.
HPU was also outrebounded, 52-39, and committed 17 turnovers to 13 for UT-Arlington.
The Mavericks (6-4) — which knocked down 50 percent (32 of 64) of their shots, including 9 of 22 three-pointers — were led by 17 points from Jamel Outler, 12 from Johnny Hill, 11 from Greg Gainey, nine from Drew Charles and eight from Anthony Walker.
UT-Arlington, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, started the game with a dunk by Walker and raced out to a 13-2 lead. Howard Payne missed 13 of its first 14 shots and was shooting 7 percent from the floor at the 13:20 mark of the opening half.
The Yellow Jackets finally found the rim and closed the gap to 20-12 with 11 minutes remaining before halftime. Down 17-4, Arbogast drained a trey that ignited the 8-3 spurt. Gould also knocked down a three-pointer and Gile scored in the paint during the surge.
UT-Arlington quickly answered with a string of 10 consecutive points and pushed the lead to 18 points, 30-12, at the 7:52 mark.
A three-pointer by Vaden and a deuce from Randall brought the Yellow Jackets back within 13 points, 30-17, with 5:18 left before intermission.
Trailing 35-20 at the 2:54 mark, another spurt brought the Yellow Jackets within 10 points, 35-25, with 1:31 remaining in the half. Young knocked down a three while Smoak added a bucket in the paint.
Howard Payne went into the locker room at halftime down, 39-25, but UT-Arlington tallied the first eight points of the second half as part of a decisive 15-6 run that put the Yellow Jackets in a 54-31 hole with just over 15 minutes left.
HPU got no closer than 21 points the rest of the contest as the Mavericks gradually pulled away down the stretch.
The Yellow Jackets will resume American Southwest Conference action at 5 p.m. Monday in Richardson against UT-Dallas (7-2, 3-2). Howard Payne currently sits in sixth place in the ASC standings, while UT-Dallas is fifth heading into Monday’s encounter. The top eight teams will advance to the ASC tournament, hosted by the No. 1 seed Feb. 26-28. HPU is seeking its first postseason appearance since 2008.