HPU men improve to 3-1 in ASC action

The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets bounced back from their only American Southwest Conference defeat, notching their third league victory in four outings with an 88-76 triumph over the Ozarks Eagles Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.

Coming off a 77-72 loss at East Texas Baptist Saturday, the Jackets (4-4, 3-1) outscored Ozarks (4-3, 1-3) by 13 points in the second half after trailing 41-40 at intermission.

Howard Payne held the Eagles 19 points below their season average despite Ozarks converting 47 percent (27 of 57) of its shots. The Yellow Jackets owned a 45-33 edge in rebounds, which resulted in 15 more field goal attempts as HPU knocked down 43 percent (31 of 72) of its shots.

The Yellow Jackets also committed just 10 turnovers, while forcing 16 which led the 25 points — 12 more points than Ozarks was able to manufacture off its takeaways.

Five Yellow Jackets finished in double figures in scoring led by 14 points from Rickey Guillory, 13 from Shadd Cole, 11 from Talen Davis-Renfro and 10 apiece from Khyce Randall and David Dingle. Also scoring for HPU were De’Marcus Hurd with nine points trailed by J Bailey with eight, Donovan Jenkins with six, Thomas Bingham with four and Cody Hastings with three.

Ozarks received 27 points from Jace Richardson, 25 from Josh Berard and 13 from Dylan Gray.

Howard Payne trailed by as many as six points in the first half, 19-13, with 11:14 to go following a Berard layup. At the 7:24 juncture, the Yellow Jackets capped a 13-6 run as a three-pointer by Hastings gave HPU a 26-25 edge.

Ozarks regained the lead and stretched it to seven points, 37-30, with 4:26 left on a bucket by Richardson, but Howard Payne answered with a 10-1 run to claim a 40-38 edge on a pair of Bailey free throws with 1:12 before the break.

In the second half, a 14-2 spurt with the Yellow Jackets in a six-point hole proved to be the turning point of the contest. Down 46-40 just 1:51 into the second half, a three-pointer by Dingle at the 17:02 mark allowed HPU to regain a 47-46 edge.

The Yellow Jackets added seven of the next nine points, as a trey from Davis-Renfro with 14:58 left extended the HPU lead to 54-48.

Howard Payne gradually padded its cushion in the second half with the lead hitting double-digits — 68-58 — on a Dingle layup with 8:25 left. The lead maxed out at 14 points — 77-63 — after a bucket by Cole with 3:33 on the clock.

The Yellow Jackets welcome UT-Dallas (1-6, 1-1) to the Brownwood Coliseum at 3 p.m. Saturday.