BROWNWOOD – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s basketball team built an early 15-point lead, but could not hold off Howard Payne’s comeback as the Cru fell to the Yellow Jackets 69-63 Thursday night in Brownwood. The loss drops the UMHB men to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in American Southwest Conference play on the season. Howard Payne improves to 1-3 overall and 1-0 in the ASC on the year with the victory.
The Cru came out red-hot to start the game, jumping out to a 23-8 lead with 10:43 left in the first half. Howard Payne started to chip away and pulled to within 30-28 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets took their first lead of the game at 31-30 in the opening seconds of the second half. The Cru fought back for a 52-45 lead with 9:56 remaining. Howard Payne scored the next eight points to retake the lead and never let UMHB get closer than five points in the final four minutes of the game.
Jerard Graham topped the Cru with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Gammill added 18 points and six boards and Jalen Jury also reached double figures with 10 points. UMHB shot 41 per cent from the field and was just 7-23 from three-point range in the loss. The Cru was out rebounded 43-39 and committed 22 turnovers in the game.
Brandon Gould led a balanced HPU scoring effort with 15 points. Jordan Young chipped in 13 points and Ty Davis had 12. Sterling Smoak pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in the contest. The Yellow Jackets shot 39 per cent from the field but hit 7-15 from beyond the arc in the victory.
The Cru will close out its road trip with a 3:00 PM tip-off at Sul Ross State University Saturday in Alpine. UMHB will then return home to host Concordia Texas for a 3:00 PM start on Saturday, December 13th.