The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets again dipped below the .500 mark in American Southwest Conference action, while the East Texas Baptist Tigers moved into a tie for first place in the East Division following Monday night's 97-83 decision at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets (7-8, 3-4), who slipped to fifth place in the West Division with the defeat, shot just 34 percent (27 of 80) from the field, compared to the 51 percent (39 of 76) success rate for East Texas Baptist (11-2, 5-1). The Tigers also owned a 54-47 edge in rebounds.
“Our team and individual defense wasn't good enough tonight to win a game in the ASC,” said Yellow Jackets head coach Troy Drummond. “In the first half our shots weren't falling and our offense was breaking down. We have to step up and play better defense as well.”
ASC West Player of the Week Khyce Randall chalked up yet another double-double for the Yellow Jackets with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while De'Marcus Hurd added 22 points and Colton Otts finished with 11. Also scoring for the Yellow Jackets were Thomas Bingham with six points, Darren Farmer and Rickey Guillory with five apiece, Shadd Cole with four, Cody Hastings with three and Talen Davis and Joshua Taylor with two points each.
Darrice Whitley paced the ETBU effort with 24 points followed by Robby Dooley with 18, Westin Reddick with 17 and Jordan Gosey with 11.
Midway through the first half the Yellow Jackets already faced a double-digit deficit, as a layup in the paint by Alan Wilkinson made the score 20-9 at the 10:03 mark. The Tigers extended the lead to 19 points, 38-19, at the 4:42 mark before HPU closed the gap to 16 points, 41-25, at halftime.
In the second half, the Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as 21 points, 54-33, with 16:16 left, but eventually reduced the deficit to 10 points, 91-81, on a pair Farmer free throws, but that occurred with just 1:14 remaining. ETBU closed out the contest with six of the final eight points.
The Yellow Jackets start the ASC West portion of the schedule at 4 p.m. Saturday at division leader Sul Ross (11-4, 6-1).