Howard Uses Defense To Grind Out Win Over Morgan State
Baltimore, MD—February 6—Howard converted on eight of nine free throws down the stretch and held Morgan State to one field goal over a 13-minute span to tough out a 54-46 win in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at the Hill Field House.
The young Bison, who started five freshmen for the third straight game, took control early and led through most of the game by combining hustle, aggressive play on defense and some deft free throw shooting to snap their eight-game losing streak to the Bears.
"I am very happy for this team that they were able to get this victory for all of their hard work," said Howard second year coach Kevin Nickelberry. "But I also understand that with so many young players and getting new players (transfers Glenn Andrews and Tre Lee) more comfortable, there are going to be some ups and downs. What we are looking for at this point in the season is more consistency. I thought that we gave that kind of consistent effort tonight and it finally paid off."
Howard (6-18, 3-8 in the MEAC) did not shoot the ball well (35 percent), but it made up for it
with a strong rebounding effort, outdueling the taller Morgan State team, 42-27 with 13 coming off the offensive boards. The Bison also had one of their better defensive efforts of the season, holding the Bears to 30 percent from the field, including 3 of 20 (15 percent) from the floor in the second stanza.
Howard, which has had problems at the free throw line of late, put together their best performance of the season by sinking 14 of 16 in the second half.
Freshman Prince Okoroh led all scorers with 14 points while Simuel Frazier, another freshman, contributed nine. Glenn Andrews and Alphonso Leary chipped in with eight each off the bench. But there were others who contributed that may not show up in the statistics.
Brandon Ford, of the five freshman starters who has come on strong of late, scored seven
points. Sophomore Tre Lee came off the bench to grab seven rebounds. Redshirt junior guard Calvin Thompson, who is battling an assortment of injuries, missed his three shots from the field but he came up big by going 4 for 4 from the free throw line in the last minute.
Perhaps one of the biggest contributions of the night came from freshman starting center Oliver Ellison. The 6-8, high energy freshman had only one field goal but his two blocked shots in the closing minutes with the game still; in tow, proved to be a deciding factor.
"It was truly a team effort in every sense of the word," noted a visibly pleased Nickelberry.
"It was not pretty. But this is the way that we have to be successful. We have to scrap and dig and grind to give ourselves a chance for success."
Morgan State (5-16, 3-7 in the MEAC) was led by DeWayne Jackson, who tallied all 10 of his
points in the first half.
NEXT UP: The Bison host the Rattlers of Florida A&M on Saturday, February 11 at 4 pm while the Bears host the Hawks of Maryland Eastern Shore at 4 pm in the Hill Field House.