Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles gained a 88-81 victory over Howard Payne University in American Southwest Conference action on Thursday night.
After holding a 42-40 edge at halftime, the Eagles (3-2, 1-2) used a Josh Joyner lay-up with 6:32 left in the game to break a 69-69 deadlock and would never relinquish that lead to a pesky Howard Payne team. Joyner’s basket sparked Ozarks’ offense after they trailed by as many as 10 points mid-way through the second half. The Yellow Jackets (0-4, 0-3) would cut the lead to 80-77 with 2:47 to go before Brent Johnson hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to push the advantage back to six points. Ozarks then hit 5-of-9 free throws with under one minute to play to seal their first league win. Howard Payne had difficulty stopping an Ozarks’ offense that is averaging 87 points per game. The Eagles were able to score in quick spurts, including a key 6-0 run following Joyner’s lay-up, to put away the Yellow Jackets. Four players scored in double figures for Ozarks with Johnson recording a team-high 22 points. David Hamilton scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor. Hamilton also controlled the paint by recording a game-high 11 rebounds. Joyner finished with 14 points and a team-best 7 assists while Habeeb Kareem added 13 points. Ozarks will host Sul Ross State on Saturday at 3 p.m. in American Southwest Conference play.