Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team overcame a 45-37 halftime deficit and rallied to a 86-74 victory over Howard Payne University on Saturday afternoon in American Southwest Conference action.
<#IMAGE:1#>Trailing by eight points at intermission, Ozarks (2-2, 1-0) clamped down defensively, holding the Yellow Jackets (0-3, 0-1) to just 12 points through the first 15 minutes of the second half. Ozarks forward Habeeb Kareem also got hot in the second half, scoring 17 points, including a stretch where he hit four straight inside shots. Howard Payne opened the second half with a three-pointer, but the Eagles went on a 19-8 run over the next nine minutes to take a narrow 58-56 lead. The Yellow Jackets would quickly tie the contest, but Ozarks Jeremy Clark scored on a layup to begin a 11-0 spurt, and eventually gave the Eagles a 69-58 advantage with 6:39 remaining. Ozarks then increased its lead to 75-60 when Kareem hit a jumper at the 4:49 mark. Ozarks had a 6-5 lead early in the game, but Howard Payne used four three-pointers and hit 8-of 10 (80%) from the free throw line to maintain a 45-37 halftime advantage. The inside duo of Kareem and David Green combined for 39 points on 15-of-21 shooting (71%) from the field. Kareem ended with a game-high 25 points. Ted Beard followed with 17 points and Green finished with 14 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Clint McHenry had a team-high 10 rebounds. Ozarks will host Sul Ross State University on Monday in American Southwest Conference play.