BIG SPRING — The South Plains College men's basketball team rallied in the second half to pick up their fifth consecutive win in conference play as they downed Howard College 65-58 on Thursday at Dorothy Garrett Coliseum.
With the win, South Plains improves to 15-6 on the season and 7-2 in the WJCAC and will be back on the floor on Monday when they travel to Snyder to take on Western Texas College at 7:30 p.m.
Freddie De La Cruz scored a season-high 14 points and snagged eight rebounds, five on the defensive end, finishing 6 of 10 from the floor coming off the bench for the Texans. Freshman Rivaldo Soares tallied 19 points for South Plains, bucketing 5 of 11 shots and was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in 40 minutes of action.
Benjamin Bayela netted 14 points and three rebounds for South Plains, dropping in 5 of 11 shots and was 4 of 7 from the 3-point line over 29 minutes as the Texans shot 43.5 percent from the floor and were 8 of 17 from the perimeter.
Trailing 33-29 at the half, South Plains used a 7-2 run to begin the final stint capped by a 3-ball from Bayela to take a 36-35 lead with 14:57 to play. The Texans would extend their lead to six, 45-39 with 12:08 to go on a De La Cruz' layup in traffic. South Plains would then extend its lead to nine, 49-40 as Junior Farquhar found the bottom of the net on a 3 from the right wing with just under 10 minutes to play.
Howard would get back within seven with 3:39 to go as Lacey Watson stole an inbound pass and converted at the rim to bring the score to 58-51. The Hawks would then hit from the perimeter as Klay Brown brought the Hawks within four, 58-54 with 3:12 to go on a triple from the top of the key.
Watson would bring Howard within a single possession, 58-56 with a layup with 1:31 to play, but South Plains would follow up with a 6-0 run down the stretch capped by a pair of Soares' free throws to ice the game and keep the Texans in the win column.