LEVELLAND — Looking to get back in the win column and protect their home floor against a league foe, the South Plains College men's basketball team placed three players in double figures Wednesday night as they trounced Howard College 74-50 in their conference opener at the Texan Dome.
The Texans improve to 6-4 on the year and 1-0 in the WJCAC, as they look to close out the front half of the season with a win over #11 Western Texas College on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. at the Texan Dome. Following Saturday's matchup, the Texans will return to action Dec. 27-29 at the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout in Phoenix, Arizona.
South Plains' Benjamin Bayela, a 6-foot-6 guard from France went off for 21 points and four assists, his third consecutive game with at least 20 points as he led all scorers Wednesday. Bayela connected on 8 of 14 shots from the field and was 4-for-8 from distance over 32 minutes. Philmon Gebrewhit, a 6-foot-7 redshirt freshman from Boston found his stroke early on, dropping in 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting including a 3-for-5 clip from the perimeter.
"Ben has been shooting the ball well, and he's opening up some things for us that make things a little easier for some other guys," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "He's kind of slowed down and is starting to play like the guard we thought he could be."
Sophomore Junior Farquhar, a 6-foot-2 guard from Toronto chipped in 13 points and handed out three assists for South Plains, bucketing 4 of 12 shots from the floor and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe in 27 minutes of action. South Plains shot a 46.6 percent clip from the floor including a 45 percent mark from the 3-point line in the second half.
"They sat in a soft zone, and dared him (Junior) to make some plays," Green said. "A lot of people have done that to us this year, and we tried to move him around and show him different areas of the zone – you can attack from here and there and just that kind of thing."
Leading 33-22 at the midway point, South Plains opened its lead to 41-24 on a Bayela' 3-ball from the right wing with 17:28 to play. Howard would answer back and trim the deficit to 45-35 with 11:18 remaining following a 3 from the top of the circle from Eric Reed Jr. The Texans responded with a 9-0 run as Gebrewhit put the Texans up 54-35 with a triple of his own with 8:28 to go.
Javon Burton would get the Hawks within 15, 58-43 with a floater off the glass with just under six minutes to play, but any hopes of a comeback were diminished when Farquhar found Rivaldo Soares in the corner as the 6-foot-5 freshman from Boston drained a trey with 2:21 left to put the Texans up 66-45 in the closing minutes.
South Plains held Howard to a season-low 29 percent shooting from the floor including a 27.6 percent clip from 3. Reed Jr. led Howard with 12 points and five rebounds while Tucson Redding and Jevon Burton each netted 10.
Photo credit: Wes Underwood - South Plains College