The majority of the game was closer than the final score indicated and it appeared the two teams would head to the locker room with a knotted score of 31-31 until Carlos Emory took an inbounds pass from the sideline and threw up a prayer that was ultimately answered to give the Hawks a three point lead.
South Plains College quickly answered in the opening minutes of the second half when they opened with an 8-0 run, led by six points from Greg Gainey during the stretch, to take a five point lead.
Kenny Brown hit two free throws at the 6:40 mark to give SPC their largest lead of the second half, 55-48. The Hawks battled back and with just over three minutes to play SPC's lead was dwindled to a single point.
Shavon Coleman took the lead away from the Texans for good when he hit a game changing three pointer with only 1:43 remaining to give Howard a 61-59 advantage.
SPC's Deshaunt Walker tried to counter with a three ball of his own, but it was off the mark and Howard went down the floor and converted another bucket to make it a two possession ballgame.
On the Texans next trip down the floor, Malcolm Miller attempted a three that was rebounded by Greg Gainey who was fouled on his way back up. Gainey missed the front end of a one-and-one and with less than a minute to go SPC was forced to begin fouling. The Hawks converted most of their free throws down the stretch and went on to claim the conference opener for both teams.
SPC was led by Gainey, who scored a game high 21 points while shooting 8-of-12 from the field. Gainey also pulled down eight rebounds while seeing 37 minutes of action. Derrell Edwards made 6-of-9 shots, included 3-of-6 from downtown, on his way to chipping in with 15. Sophomore Kenny Brown added 10.
The Texans will return to action on Thursday, January 13th when they host the Midland College Chaps at the Texan Dome with a 7:45 p.m. scheduled tip. McDonald's of Levelland is the sponsor of the game and tickets for the contest have been passed out to area schools. Students interested in attending the contest should visit the administration building of their respective district. At halftime, children 12 and under will be invited to participate in shooting free throws for chances to win coupons redeemable for a small order of fries at McDonald's of Levelland.