Kirkpatrick Scores Career High But Mistakes Prove Costly In Bison Loss
LOGAN, UTAH -
Paul Kirkpatrick turned in the best performance of his career,
scoring a career-high 20 and grabbing 13 rebounds for a
double-double but some costly turnovers down the stretch proved to
be costly as Howard University dropped a 69-59 decision to Houston
Baptist in the Duel in the Desert men's basketball tournament at
the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
A 6-9 junior center from Randallstown, Kirkpatrick proved to be a dominant force in the paint, connecting on 7 of 10 shots from the field. He set the tone early, scoring nine of his team's first 11 points. The Huskies first alternated different players in an attempt to stop the steadily improving center. They then went to double team Kirkpatrick and it provided scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Houston Baptist (1-14), which is in its first year of Division 1, stayed close on the scoring of Baron Saul's 10 points and Andrew Puzyk's seven points. The Bison led, 32-32 at halftime.
The two teams, which had one win between them coming into the game, played sloppily in the first three minutes of the second half until Howard (1-11) was able to take a 41-34 lead at the 15:44 mark. Adam Walker (8 points, career-high 13 rebounds) and Curtis White (8 points, 6 in the second half) led the surge.
"I thought there was an
eight-minute stretch in the second half when we were playing well,"
said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "We were playing good defense,
we were rebounding the ball and were able to get some baskets."
That is when Houston Baptist's Gordon Watt took over. The 6-6, 225-pound senior forward scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, with many coming during a key stretch when Huskies reeled off a 26-14 run that gave them a 60-55 lead with 2:27 mark. Watt scored in a variey of ways, powering his way past Bison defenders, stepping outside to knock down three pointer and cashing in at the free throw line. He also added five steals, all of which came after Howard miscues.
"Houston Baptist deserved to win the game," said Coach Jackson. "They trapped us and forced some mistakes. They made the plays that they had to."
Howard was still in striking distance, but a combination of Howard miscues and plays by Watt and Sauls helped Houston Baptist get its first win.
Eugene Myatt contributed 11 points and Kyle Riley 8, all coming in the first half. Freshman guard Chris McHenry, who tallied a career-high 29 points in the loss to Wyoming on Tuesday, struggled and scored only two points in 23 minutes.
In addition to his game-high point total, Watt added 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks to his stat line. Sauls contributed 17 and Emanuel Willis and Purzyk each scored 10.
NEXT UP: Howard will try to snap their current 11-game skid when it travels to Philadelphia, PA on Saturday to take on LaSalle University at 2 pm.