With 5:31 remaining, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets reclaimed a 66-64 lead over the UT-Tyler Patriots, rallying from 11 points down. Over the final five-plus minutes, however, the Patriots pulled away again, using a closing 19-4 run to knock off the Yellow Jackets, 83-70, Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum in American Southwest Conference basketball action.
The Yellow Jackets (6-7, 2-3) had reeled off victories in four of their last five outings, most of which consisted of second-half rallies. But UT-Tyler (10-4, 3-3) had an answer down the stretch, limiting Howard Payne to 1-of-12 shooting with a pair of turnovers.
UT-Tyler seized a 67-66 advantage on a three-pointer by Johnell Lane with 5:18 left, then followed with five more points until a pair of Khyce Randall free throws made the score 72-68. HPU then went scoreless over the next 2:36 as the Patriots added six more points to push the lead back to double digits, 78-68, with 40 seconds remaining.
Down 54-43 with 14:16 to go, the Yellow Jackets’ comeback began with a Thomas Bingham bucket followed by a Rickey Guillory trey, making the score 54-48. UT-Tyler pushed the lead back to 10 points, 58-48, but the Yellow Jackets answered with a 16-4 surge as Darren Farmer’s three at 7:14 gave HPU a 64-62 edge.
The Yellow Jackets shot 45 percent (15 of 33) from the floor in the first half while building a 41-39 halftime lead, but made just 31 percent (11 of 35) of its second-half shots. HPU also hit just 58 percent (10 of 17) of its free throws, was outrebounded 48-39 and committed 14 turnovers.
Randall scored 22 points to pace the HPU offense followed by 12 from Timothy Aguero, 10 from De’Marcus Hurd, seven from Farmer, six from Bingham, four from Shadd Cole, three from Guillory and two each from Talen Davis, Colton Otts and Drake Cooper.
UT-Tyler — which connected on 44 percent (31 of 70) of its field goals and shot better than 40 percent in each half — received 20 points from Lane, 15 from Melvin Anthony, 14 from Emeka Obukwelu, 12 from Skyler Hadden and 11 points from Josh Tatum.
The Yellow Jackets will attempt to bounce back at 4 p.m. Saturday when Ozarks (3-9, 1-4) — which is coming off a 76-63 loss Thursday to Sul Ross — visits. Former HPU assistant Travis Carruthers is in his first year as Ozarks head coach, and former Yellow Jacket Blake Arbogast is his assistant.