Trailing by 15 points with 4:54 left in the contest, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets made a spirited rally but the Southwestern Pirates escaped with a 79-78 non-conference basketball victory Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets (1-2) still faced a seven-point deficit with 29 seconds left, but Jase Miguez drained a three-pointer to trim Southwestern's (2-1) lead to 77-73. After a Pirate free throw, Tyrell Thompson's drive with 11 seconds left resulted in a traditional three-point play, making the score 78-76.
Southwestern tacked on another free throw with six seconds to go as the score stood at 79-76, then HPU's Luke Cox knocked down two shots from the charity stripe.
With five seconds to go, Yellow Jacket Joshua Taylor recorded a steal and Javaris Jones attempted a potential game-winning three-pointer the buzzer, but the shot was off the mark.
The Yellow Jackets shot 45 percent (29 of 65) — including 19 percent (5 of 27) beyond the three-point arc — and 68 percent (15 of 22) at the free throw line. Howard Payne owned a 44-41 edge in rebounds, but committed 15 turnovers to Southwestern's 13.
Thompson led Howard Payne with 13 points trailed by 12 from Miguez, 10 from Talen Davis, nine from Jacob Smith, eight from Kyle Kildare, six from Timothy Aguero, five each from Jones, Taylor and Cox, three from Jaylan Ballou and two points from Jayden Modrall.
The Pirates converted 41 percent (28 of 69) of their shots — including 44 percent (14 of 32) of their treys — but just 45 percent (9 of 20) of their free throws.
Brandon Alexander scored a game-high 26 points, aided by six three-pointers, followed by Zac Black with 12 points and Justin McCormack with 10.
Howard Payne visits Trinity at 7 p.m. Monday and is back home at 7 p.m. Friday when Centenary invades the Brownwood Coliseum.