Seeking consecutive American Southwest Conference victories for the first time this season, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets instead had their home final ruined by the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys, 75-61, Saturday afternoon at the Brownwood Coliseum.
With the victory, Hardin-Simmons (14-10, 9-6) moved within a half-game of ASC West Division leader Mary Hardin-Baylor (18-5, 9-5) with one game remaining against McMurry next Saturday.
Howard Payne, meanwhile slipped to 4-19 overall and 2-12 against ASC competition. The Yellow Jackets, who have been eliminated from postseason contention, will close out their campaign at third-place Concordia (10-13, 8-6) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and at Mary Hardin-Baylor at 3 p.m. Saturday.
In their second loss to Hardin-Simmons this season — having also fallen by a 95-69 count in Abilene on Jan. 17 — the Yellow Jackets led by double digits with just under 13 minutes left.
Hardin-Simmons shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the and 69 percent (13 of 19) at the free throw line floor in the second half to surge past Howard Payne.
Joe Hoeup sparked the Cowboys with 19 points trailed by 11 from Jalen Terry, eight each from Kadon Lewis and Chris Henderson, six apiece from Steven Quinn and Keenan Holdman, five each from Neal Chambliss and Ryan Chaney, three from Justin Lovvorn and two points apiece from Chris Barrett and Trey Wooldridge.
Howard Payne knocked down 46 percent (11 of 24) of its second-half field goals, but shot 38 percent (3 of 8) at the charity stripe with 11 fewer attempts than the Cowboys.
Despite owning a slim 34-33 edge in rebounds, the Yellow Jackets committed 27 turnovers that led to 32 HSU points.
Shadd Cole’s 16-point effort paced the Yellow Jacket offense trailed by a dozen points from Timothy Aguero, nine from Javaris Jones, seven from Joshua Taylor, six from Cole Bene’, five from Talen Davis, three from Mason Green, two from Colton Otts, and one point from Thomas Bingham.
Down 16-7 early in the first half, the Yellow Jackets scored 17 of the next 21 points to seize a 24-20 edge with 5:59 left in the first half. A three-pointer from Green at 7:26 pushed HPU in front for the first time.
The Yellow Jackets pushed the lead to 10 points, 53-43, on a layup by Otts with 12:53 left.
But Hardin-Simmons responded with 32 of the game’s final 40 points, including a 27-3 spurt.