O’Quinn, Reserves Combine to Lead Norfolk State To Win Over Howard
Winston-Salem, NC—March 9---Kyle O'Quinn scored a game-high 25 points and the bench contributed 30 points to lead Norfolk State to a 68-53 win over Howard University in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's tournament at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
The Spartans (11-19), the Number 6 seed will take on Coppin State on Thursday at 6 pm in the quarterfinals.
The Bison (6-24), the Number 11 seed, came out strong on the play of sophomore guard Anton Dickerson and took an early 16-7 lead before Norfolk State responded with an 18-9 run to tie the game at 25-all at the half.
O'Quinn, the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and a first team all-conference selection, started slow but began to pick up his play near the end of the half by scoring 9 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.
Howard, which lost both games to Norfolk State this season, opened with a 14-7 second half run to regain the lead at 39-32 at the 16:17 mark.
Then O'Quinn began to dominate the game at both ends. The 6-8 junior played a part in almost every play during a 20-7 run over a seven-minute stretch. The spurt gave the Spartans a 52-39 advantage at the 9:05 mark.
"We expect this kind of effort from Kyle," said Norfolk State Coach Anthony Evans. "They did a pretty good job on him the first two games, but he did a much better job of recognizing what they were doing and taking advantage of it."
Added Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry, "He played like players of his caliber are supposed to play in games like this. He played well in all phases of the game. We did the best we could do, all things considered."
O'Quinn hit on 8 of 11 from the field, was a perfect 9 of 9 from the free throw line, blocked 4 shots and recorded a double double of 25 points and 12 rebounds.
With the Bison concerned about O'Quinn's presence, the Spartans were able to get production from its bench, which outscored their Howard counterparts, 30-5. Marcos Tamares and Pendarvis Williams, a member of the All-Rookie team, tallied 11 and 10 respectively off the bench and appeared to score easily against the undermanned and tired Bison.
"We have faced this all season," said Nickelberry, who suits up only 9 players. "Our starters play a lot of minutes. When you factor that along with foul trouble, there is not much we can do. I don't have an answer for fatigue."
The Bison were led by Dadrian Collins, who scored 12 of his 14 in the second half before fouling out and Dickerson and Riley, who each tallied 11.