ROSWELL, N.M. — Remember that old sports cliché about “throwing the records out the window when these two teams meet?” Apply it to just about any Howard College-New Mexico Military Institute basketball game.
The Hawks and NMMI entered Monday night's Western Junior College Athletic Conference matchup at opposite ends of the conference spectrum — Howard was firmly in second place, while the Broncos were ensconced in the WJCAC cellar.
So, of course, the game wasn't decided until the final moments.
The Hawks rallied from a second half deficit, then held on by their collective fingernails to take an 82-76 win over NMMI Monday.
Calvin Godfrey led a quartet of Hawks in double figures with 23 points to lead all scorers. Shavon Coleman scored 17 points, while Rico Richardson and Jacob Thomas added 13 and 11 points, respectively, for Howard, which improved to 18-5 overall, 7-2 in WJCAC play.
Howard's victory, coupled with Odessa College's loss vs. New Mexico Junior College, means the Hawks are alone in second place in the WJCAC standings, two games behind league leader South Plains and a game ahead of OC and NMJC, which are tied for third.
D'Marnier Cunningham had 21 points, Royce Williams scored 12 and Desmond Barnes and A.J. Peralta each had 10 for NMMI, which dropped to 8-15, 1-8 with the loss.
For whatever reason, NMMI usually manages to give the Hawks fits, and this game was no exception. Howard never was able to get any comfortable breathing room against the Broncos, who forged a 69-62 lead with a little more than seven minutes left in the game.
But Phillip Miller responded with a three-pointer that spurred a 16-2 run that ended with the Hawks holding a seemingly comfortable 78-71 lead with 2:10 remaining.
“Seemingly” is the key word in that previous sentence.
On the ensuing NMMI possession, Peralta canned a jumper, then Cunningham followed with a three-pointer to cut Howard's lead to two points with 52 seconds remaining.
Enter Godfrey. With only four seconds left on the shot clock, he took an inbounds pass from Richardson and laid a shot off the glass to put Howard up by four, then sank two insurance free throws with five seconds remaining to seal the win.
Howard returns to action Thursday at home against Midland College. The women's game begins at 5:45 p.m., followed by the men's tilt at 7:45 p.m.