Looking to take over sole possession of fourth place in the American Southwest Conference West Division standings — the last position eligible for the postseason — the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets instead came up on the short end of a 75-64 decision against the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.
Hardin-Simmons (6-11, 4-5) remained in fourth place while Howard Payne (7-10, 3-6) slipped to fifth place with its third loss in a row, but the Yellow Jackets have eight ASC games remaining on the schedule to make up ground.
With the game knotted at 46 with 13:57 remaining, a three-pointer by HSU’s Keenan Holdman triggered a 13-2 run that pushed the Cowboys in front, 59-48, with 9:49 to go as Howard Payne managed just two points during that 4:08 stretch.
The lead continued to swell for Hardin-Simmons, which opened a 16-point cushion, 67-51, at the 4:54 mark. HPU continued to struggle, mustering five points over a near 10-minute span. Howard Payne got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Khyce Randall finished with another double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, while Shadd Cole also chipped in 13 points and De’Marcus Hurd tallied 12. Also scoring for HPU were Rickey Guillory with seven points, Cody Hastings with five, Thomas Bingham and Talen Davis with four apiece and Timothy Aguero, Cole Bene’ and Darren Farmer with two points each.
For Hardin-Simmons, Joe Houp notched a game-high 21 points trailed by 15 each from Holdman and Chris Barrett and 14 points from Keilyn Nance.
The Yellow Jackets will attempt to halt their skid at 4 p.m. Saturday when McMurry (4-12, 3-7) visits. The War Hawks are coming off an 88-64 loss to ASC West lead Sul Ross (13-4, 8-1).