The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets find themselves above the .500 mark for the second time this season after an electrifying win Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum over the better than advertised University of Texas at Tyler Patriots, 90-85.
The Yellow Jackets (11-10, 11-5) saw themselves trail for most of the game, and for a game long 19 minutes and 57 seconds that spanned over more than the final 11 minutes of the first half and a little more than the first eight minutes of the second.
"We started getting defensive stops," said HPU head coach Troy Drummond regarding what sparked the Yellow Jackets turnaround. "They (UT-Tyler) did a great job attacking the rim throughout the game and had some shots fall. We just did a better job of moving our feet and contesting their shots. Rebounding is a huge part of our game and that's what we did in the last part of the game to secure the win."
The contest was close throughout with the largest lead reaching seven points by UT-Tyler (3-19, 2-15) and the score being tied four times, as both teams combined for seven lead changes.
There was a chance for the Patriots late as HPU freshman Rickey Guillory missed two free throws with 30 seconds left and the Jackets up by two, only to see Patriots guard Stephon Hall be called for a lane violation resulting in Guillory sinking the second chance free-throw and increasing HPU's lead to three with half a minute to play.
The Patriots with a chance to tie the game saw Chris Rios' last chance three pointer bounce off the rim. A UT-Tyler player rebounded the ball and tried to call timeout with less than two seconds remaining, but the Patriots were out of timeouts resulting in a technical foul which ultimately sealed the win for Howard Payne.
"We wanted to stay out on their shooters and contest whatever shot that they put up," said Drummond on the call before UT-Tyler's last possession. "They're a good team, I don't care what their record is. Every team in this conference is tough and wins are hard to come by."
The Yellow Jackets posted an impressive 48.5 percent (33-68) field goal percentage and even better 50 percent (8-16) from beyond the arc.
Howard Payne was led offensively by junior forward Ty Davis who had 20 points, five rebounds and two assists, while senior guard Brandon Gould posted 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. Coming close to a double-double was Rickey Guillory who finished with nine points and nine rebounds. As a team, 10 out of 11 members of the Jackets who players played a minimum of six minutes posted points.
The leading scorer in the game was not an HPU player, but instead was UT-Tyler's Rios. He finished the game going 13-for-27 from the field for 36 points, with nine rebounds and five assists.
Howard Payne will look to add another win to their record Thursday when they travel to Pineville, La., to take on Louisiana College (11-8, 11-5), who is undefeated (8-0) at home this season.