JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN Damontrez Hawes goes up for a basket, but is fouled, Thursday during NMJC's Western Junior College Athletic Conference game against Howard College.
The calendar might have flipped to a new month, but for the New Mexico Junior College men's basketball team, nothing changed as the Thunderbirds lost to Howard College 76-69 Thursday night at Caster Activity Center.
Despite trailing the Hawks by 13 at the break, NMJC actually led by three halfway through the first half. But the T-Birds couldn't keep up with the Hawks and went into the break trailing 35-22.
Howard seamed to pull away early in second half, building up a 23-point lead, 52-29, with 13:35 left. The T-Birds didn't quit though and rallied back into the game, cutting Howard's lead to 61-54 with 6:29 on a four-point play from Paul Williams. Howard College pushed its lead back up to 10 and the T-Birds again rallied, once again getting back within six, 70-64, with 45 seconds to play, but never got any closer.
Williams led the T-Birds in scoring, dropping in 27 points. Williams sank five treys and have five assists. Antonio Morales finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks while Damontrez Hawes chipped in 10 points.
Howard's Jeremy Hayes led all scorers with 27 points.
As close as the T-Birds came, free throws were costly. NMJC was 13-of-19 from the charity stripe. On the flip side, Howard was 18-of-19 at the line.
The loss was the sixth straight for NMJC as the T-Birds fall to 13-10 on the season and 2-7 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play. Next up for the T-Birds is a road trip to Snyder, Texas to face Western Texas College on Monday, Feb. 12.