Bulletin Staff Report

ABILENE ó The McMurry menís basketball team remained in a virtual tie atop the ASC West Division standings with its 97-92 win over the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets Saturday.

The loss was the second straight for the Yellow Jackets (5-14, 5-10), who remained tied with Sul Ross (5-13, 5-10) and Schreiner (5-14, 5-10) for fifth place in the West, two games behind fourth-place Concordia (7-10, 6-7).

The top four teams from the West will head to Mississippi College for the American Southwest Conference eight-team menís championship tournament beginning Feb. 23.

McMurry (13-6, 11-4) and Mary Hardin-Baylor (14-3, 10-3) share the division lead, followed by Hardin-Simmons (10-9, 10-5), which defeated the Yellow Jackets, 95-70, on Thursday.

Howard Payne shot 53 percent (35-of-66) from the floor Saturday, but McMurry responded by hitting 60 percent (37-of-62) of its shots. McMurry was also 11-of-21 (52 percent) from beyond the three-point arc.

Five McMurry players finished in double figures, led by Glenn Gilliardís 18 points. Emile Brown and Bud Willis added 15 points each, while Alvin Stevens and Terrance Booker scored 11 apiece for McMurry.

The Yellow Jackets matched McMurry with five players in double figures, led by Sean Wheelerís game-high 21 points. Kendrick Johnson added 18 points, Lee Scott tallied 13, Tom Hermann poured in 12 points and Craig Blackmon finished with 10.

After both teams played to a 44-44 halftime tie, Howard Payne grabbed a 65-60 lead with 12:19 left on a Blackmon layup.

Bookerís layup at the 10:25 mark capped a 6-1 McMurry run, broke a 66-all tie and began a 16-5 spurt that saw the Yellow Jackets fall behind 82-71 with 6:19 left in the contest.

Howard Payne answered with 11 of the next 13 points to trim the deficit to 84-82 with 2:45 left.

But McMurry countered with one final surge, a 10-3 run that iced the game as the Yellow Jackets fell into a 94-85 hole with just 31 seconds left.

Howard Payne ó which gave up an average of 96 points per game against its two Abilene rivals ó will look to pull a pair of upsets and stay in postseason contention as the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys and McMurry visit the Brownwood Coliseum on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, respectively.

McMurry 97,

Yellow Jackets 92

HPU (5-14, 5-10) 44 48 - 92

McMurry (13-6, 11-4) 44 53 - 97

Leading scorers

HPU: Sean Wheeler 21, Kendrick Johnson 18, Lee Scott 13, Tom Hermann 12, Craig Blackmon 10, Josh Weatherred 6, Bryan Blalock 6, Brock Woods 4, Victor Hayes 2.

McMurry: Glenn Gilliard 18, Bud Willis 15, Emile Brown 15, Alvin Stevens 11, Terrance Booker 11, Terrance Willis 8, Drew Rigney 7, Cole Dickerson 5, Kenny Gardner 4, Casey Jones 3.