ABILENE, Texas — Howard Payne went 18-for-22 at the free throw line in the second half and was able to rally past Hardin-Simmons for an 88-84 American Southwest Conference win at the Mabee Complex on Saturday night.
The Cowboys used an 8-0 run midway through the first half to take a 22-14 lead. It would be the biggest of the night for HSU. HPU battled its way back and eventually took a 27-26 lead on two free throws by Quelan Lancaster. The Jackets took a 38-35 lead into halftime.
The game was close throughout and had 15 ties and the lead changed hands 24 times. After an early 3-pointer by HPU neither team led by more than five points until the Cowboys used a 7-0 run to take a 68-62 lead with 7:11 to play on a Jim Walter 3-pointer.
The Cowboys had a 82-78 lead after a Derrick Jefferson layup with 2:02 to play, but Brandon Gould answered with a 3-pointer to make it 82-81.
On the next HSU possession, John Barnes was called for a charge as he dished off for an open layup and then on the next HPU possession Gould gave the Jackets the lead with a driving layup. Gould then missed a shot after another HSU turnover but the Cowboys could not corral the rebound. HSU was forced to foul Lancaster and he made both free throws to secure the win.
Jefferson led the Cowboys with a career-best 30 points. He also had 13 rebounds for the Cowboys. Titus Mims added 12 points and eight rebounds in his first game back and Jim Walter had 11 points and Cameron Barnes added 10.
Gould and Lancaster had 19 points each to pace Howard Payne. Gould also had seven assists.
The Yellowjackets came into the game with a record of 1-5 and 1-4 in league play. All four of the league losses had been by six points or less.
HSU is now 1-6 on the year and 1-3 in conference play. The Cowboys close out the fall semester on Tuesday at Sul Ross State at 7:30 p.m.