Coming off just their second win of the season, first in American Southwest Conference action, and first since Nov. 15, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets were unable to build on their positive momentum as they suffered a 91-77 home loss to the West Division rival Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum.
Howard Payne converted 38 percent (27 of 71) of its field goals, including 38 percent (13 of 37) of its three-pointers, but just 43 percent (10 of 23) of its free throws. The Yellow Jackets were also outrebounded, 56-37, though they forced 20 turnovers while committing.
Jacob Smith led the HPU attack with 20 points followed by 13 each from Jase Miguez and Kyle Kildare — who added 14 rebounds — eight from Jayden Modrall, seven from Tyrell Thompson, six from Luke Cox, five from Evan Adkins, three from Joshua Taylor and two points from Jaylan Ballou.
Mary Hardin-Baylor sank 47 percent (33 of 71) percent of its shots, just 27 percent (6 of 22) of its treys, but 70 percent (19 of 27) of its free throws.
Sam Moore finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds for UMHB trailed by 17 points and 10 boards from Logan Hicks, 15 points and 11 rebounds from Aedan Welch and 13 points from Devyn Brewton.
Trailing just 27-21 with 7:32 left in the first half, Howard Payne (2-22, 1-14) was outscored 23-8 the rest of the way as Mary Hardin-Baylor (14-10, 6-9) — which clinched a berth in the ASC tournament — opened a 50-29 advantage at intermission.
The Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as 28 points, 65-37, with 14:59 remaining, but Howard Payne crept all the way to within nine points, 79-70, with 4:14 to go following a layup by Taylor. UMHB answered with eight of the next nine points to reestablish an 87-71 advantage with 2:21 left en route to the victory.
The Yellow Jackets conclude their season at 3 p.m. Saturday as they host Concordia (11-13, 6-9) — which suffered a 96-85 loss to ASC West champion Sul Ross Thursday night. HPU dropped the first meeting with Concordia, 101-83, in Austin on Feb. 8.