Tied at 18 with 12:23 remaining in the first half, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets surrendered the next 14 points and the Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders never looked back en route to a 106-67 American Southwest Conference victory Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The loss was the ninth straight against ASC competition for the Yellow Jackets (3-16, 1-9) since pulling a 69-65 home upset of UT-Dallas in the league opener on Dec. 1 in Brownwood. Howard Payne trails fifth-place Sul Ross (8-11, 3-7) by two games and fourth-place McMurry (7-12, 4-6) by three with six games left. The top four teams from the West meet the top four from East in the ASC tournament Feb. 21-23.
For UMHB (15-4, 6-4), the Crusaders remained one game back of ASC West leader Concordia, which rallied past Sul Ross, 112-109. Concordia (9-10, 7-3) will visit Howard Payne at 3 p.m. Saturday as the Yellow Jackets look to prevent their ASC skid from reaching double digits.
The Crusaders drained 54 percent (39 of 72) of their field goals against Howard Payne, as well as 54 percent (14 of 26) of their three-pointers. UMHB also owned a 51-33 edge in rebounds and committed 15 turnovers while forcing 18.
Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Brian Long led all scorers with 17 points trailed by Demarius Cress with 16, Sam Moore with 15, Byrale Carter and Pat Everett with 11 each, Mike Davis and Lakendric Hyson with nine apiece, Ryan Lang with eight, Jordan Pride with six and Shaq Martin and Kendal Little with two points each.
Howard Payne shot 37 percent (26 of 70) from the floor and 33 percent (11 of 33) from beyond the three-point arc. The Yellow Jackets also were just 4 of 8 from the free throw line, while UMHB was 14 of 21.
Shadd Cole finished with a team-high 15 points for the Yellow Jackets followed by Jarvaris Jones with 11 points, Colton Otts with 10, Timothy Aguero with seven, Mason Green with six, Joshua Taylor with five, Luke Cox with three and Talen Davis, Thomas Bingham, Cole Bene’, Evan Adkins and Bret Eisenbach with two points each.
Down 23 points at halftime, 51-28, the Yellow Jackets gave up the first eight points of the second half as the deficit eclipsed 30 points, 59-28, just 1:39 after intermission. With 11:16 to go, UMHB pushed the advantage past 40 points, 84-43, on a bucket by Everett. UMHB later broke the century mark with 4:38 left on another layup by Everett, which made the score 101-61.