GEORGETOWN, Texas - Southwestern out-shot the Yellow Jackets in every aspect of the game to defeat Howard Payne University 68-61 on Tuesday afternoon, completing the sweep of the Holiday Classic.
A calm and collected Pirate squad took to the court in the first half, strategically picking their points of attack and steadily built their lead to nine, 36-27 at halftime. Defensively, Southwestern held the Yellow Jackets to 37.9% from the field and 0% from three point range. Michael Cantu couldn't miss in the opening frame going 4-4 from the field, 1-1 from three point, to lead with nine first half points.
Howard Payne came out of the halftime with a new defensive philosophy, attempting to turn up the heat and apply more pressure on the Pirates, but all it did was put SU in the bonus with 12:43 on the clock.
A three by Christian Davis brought HPU within three, 47-44, as the clock ticked under 12 minutes. Howard Payne wasn't far behind as the game became a free throw competition for much of the second half. Neither team shot exceptionally well from the line and allowed the game to remain close.
As the clock ticked under two minutes Southwestern still held a three point lead, 62-59, but a nice up and under move by Blake Scott on the right block gave the Pirates a five point lead. The Yellow Jackets got a big block defensively and came down and scored to pull back within striking distance, 64-61 with 26 seconds remaining.
Cantu converted on two free throws to extend the SU lead and the Pirates drew an offensive foul on the defensive end to get the ball back with a five point lead and 17 ticks left on the clock. Travis Kurtz put down two more free throws to seal the deal, handing the Pirates the 68-61 victory.
Southwestern shot 46% from the floor and 33.3% from long range while holding HPU to 36.7% from the field and 7.7% from long range. The difference came from the charity stripe where the Pirates converted on 62.5% of their attempts while the Yellow Jackets only made 47.1%.
Cantu and Scott led the scoring for SU with 15 points each while Scott also posted a game high 11 boards on the evening. HPU's Davis led all scorers with 20 points.
Southwestern improves to 4-5 on the season with the win while HPU falls to 2-7 on the year. The Pirates return to action on Thursday as they play host to Hardin-Simmons University at 2 p.m.