The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets rallied from 20 points down at halftime to force overtime before falling to the Belhaven Blazers, 101-96, in American Southwest Conference basketball action Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The loss was the ninth in a row for Howard Payne (1-10, 0-2), while Belhaven (4-6, 1-0) collected its first league victory.
Jace Miguez scored a game-high 41 points to pace the Yellow Jackets trailed by 11 each from Jacob Smith and Joshua Taylor, Tyrell Thompson with 10, six each from Talen Davis and Kyle Kildare, five from Javaris Jones, four from Luke Cox and two points from Evan Adkins.
Luke Couch led Belhaven with 28 points followed by Brosnan Cooks with 22, Rick Hodum and Joshua Roberts with 14 each and Justin Jones with 10.
Trailing 48-28 at halftime, Howard Payne closed the gap to 10 points, 67-57, with 9:27 left following a three-pointer by Miguez, which capped a 13-0 run. Miguez accounted for nine points during the spurt, while Adkins and Smith added buckets.
Later, down 75-62, the Yellow Jackets received consecutive buckets from Taylor, Thompson and Smith to creep within seven points, 75-68. Howard Payne cut Belhaven's lead to 79-74 with 1:22 remaining on a Miguez jumper. Miguez later added a layup with 18 seconds left and Smith sank two free throws with five seconds to go to reduce the deficit to 79-78.
Belhaven's Trai James missed the first of two free throws but made the second, leaving the door open for HPU, trailing 80-78 with five seconds left. Then, just before the buzzer, Smith drained a jumper that pulled the Yellow Jackets even and forced overtime.
The Yellow Jackets will attempt to snap their skid as they face ASC rival Louisiana College for the second time this season at 3 p.m. Saturday. Howard Payne dropped a non-conference outing at Louisiana College, 79-61, on Dec. 9.