Derrick Stuckly-Brownwood Bulletin
The Howard Payne Yellow Jackets hung with No. 14 UT-Dallas for a half, but the Comets pulled away behind a 57-percent shooting effort as they dished out HPUís sixth straight loss, 99-83, Saturday at the Brownwood Coliseum.
The Comets closed the first half with a 17-3 run over the final 4:36, then pushed their lead to double figures with 14:52 left before stepping on the exhilarator.
Howard Payne (0-6, 0-4) shot 53 percent (32-of-61) from the floor and 52 percent (13-of-25) from three-point land, but converted just 40 percent (6-of-15) of its free throws. UT-Dallas (7-1, 4-0) hit 37-of-65 shots, 12-of-27 three-pointers (44 percent) and 13-of-16 free throws (81 percent), while also owning a 36-26 edge in rebounds and forcing 14 turnovers.
Brandon Irwin led the Jackets with 20 points, followed by Zane Smith with 14, John Bryant with 11, Keith Perry with 10, Henry Valladares with nine, Daniel Bubel with eight, Quentin Calloway with six and Kanyon Payne with five points.
Scott Rodgers led UT-Dallasí five-player contingent in double figures with a game-high 28 points. Brandon Greene chipped in 17 points, trailed by 16 off the bench from Chris Barnes, 15 from Jordan Eppink and 14 from Jimmy Witten.
Leading 41-35 with 4:36 left in the first half, Howard Payne went scoreless for a 3:31 stretch, which allowed UT-Dallas to regain a 45-41 advantage.
Bryant drilled a three-pointer to close the gap to 45-44 with 1:05 left in the half, but Barnes and Eppink scored on layups on UT-Dallasí next two possessions. Barnes then drilled a three-pointer with six seconds left in the half to give the Comets a 52-44 halftime edge.
The Yellow Jackets got back within six points, 60-54, on a bucket by Perry with 15:40 remaining, but UT-Dallas chalked up nine of the next 11 points to seize a 69-56 advantage ó its biggest of the game to that point ó with 13:45 left.
Another 10-4 run by the Comets led to UT-Dallasí largest lead of 19 points, 79-60, which was equaled twice more down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets were able to trim the deficit to a dozen points, 90-78, on a trey by Perry with 3:31 left, but got no closer.
Howard Payne overcame an early 14-3 deficit with a 26-13 spurt that resulted in the Yellow Jacketsí first lead, 29-27, at the 7:53 mark of the first half.
Trailing 22-10 with 13:30 left before halftime, Smith started a 14-2 surge with a three-pointer. A jumper and a layup by Irwin shaved the deficit to 24-16, then Bryant scored on a layup to make the score 24-18. Back-to-back threes from Calloway and Irwin evened the score at 24-all with 9:59 left in the half.
Bubelís putback at the 7:53 juncture gave Howard Payne the lead, then Bryant followed with a trey to make the score 32-27.
UT-Dallas clawed back to within a point 34-33, but Smith and Irwin sank jumpers before Smithís three-pointer at 4:36 stretched the lead to 41-35. The Comets then dominated the rest of the way.
Howard Payne will attempt to snap its skid at 3 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Sul Ross (1-5, 1-2).