Mary Hardin-Baylor took control of the game early and then held off a second-half rally on the way to a 76-55 victory over Howard Payne on Thursday night in Brownwood.

The ninth-ranked Cru (19-1 overall and 15-1 American Southwest Conference) never trailed in the game and scored the first eight points of the contest before Howard Payne finally got on the board 2:50 into the game. UMHB built a double-digit lead less than 10 minutes into the game and led 42-23 at halftime. Howard Payne battled back to cut the lead to 12 points early in the second half and trailed 53-41 with 11:09 left to play.

The Cru responded with a 12-0 run to push the lead to 24 points and UMHB never looked back in cruising to its second 21-point win over Howard Payne in the last seven days.

James Allen led the Cru with 19 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range and he added five assists. Kitrick Bell had 16 points and seven rebounds and Thomas Orr chipped in 13 points off the bench for UMHB.

The Cru shot 53 percent from the field in the game and went 8-of-16 from 3-point range. UMHB out rebounded HPU 42-33 and the two teams combined to shoot just 15 free-throws in the game.

Brandon Gould topped the Yellow Jackets with 14 points and Brandon Irwin added 12 more. Henry Vallardes added 10 points and seven boards for HPU. The Yellow Jackets shot just 35 percent for the game and went 4-of-17 from beyond the arc.

The Cru wrap up their road trip with a 3 p.m. tip-off against Sul Ross State on Saturday. Howard Payne women 77, UMHB 57 — At Brownwood, the Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s basketball team fell behind by double digits midway through the first half and the Cru could not claw its way out of that early hole in a loss to Howard Payne

Howard Payne (17-3, 13-3 American Southwest Conference) scored seven of the game’s first nine points and UMHB (3-17, 2-14)   never led in the contest. The Yellow Jackets first double-digit lead came at 22-11 with 10:32 remaining in the first half. HPU stretched out from there and led 47-20 at halftime.

Brittany Zamora led UMHB with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Cru  wrap up their road trip with a  1 p.m. tip-off against Sul Ross State on Saturday.

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