January 23, 2013
Poor Second Half Shooting Dooms Howard In Loss To Delaware State
Dover, DE---After having one of its best first half shooting performances in recent games, Howard University reverted back to its familiar pattern in the second half and ultimately fell, 63-46 to Delaware State University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at the Memorial Gymnasium. It is the fifth straight loss for the Bison and ninth in their last 10.
The Bison (4-17, 1-6 in the MEAC) showed marked improvement in their shooting to start the game, connecting on a respectable 44 percent in the first 20 minutes and getting some much needed balance scoring with seven players making contributions.
Howard was tied with the hosts in the waning seconds of the first half when Tyshawn Bell nailed a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a 30-27 halftime lead. More importantly, it set the tone for the rest of the game for both teams.
"That shot at the end of the half was big" noted Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "It gave them some momentum and set us back on our heels."
As the Bison began to miss a number of open shots and turn the ball over on their first six possessions of the second half, the Hornets accepted the gifts and parlayed them into a 10-0 run that opened a 40-27 lead at the 15:50 mark. It became more and more frustrating for Howard, which did not score a field goal until the 6:06 mark of the second half.
"That big elephant in the room showed up in the second half," said Nickelberry, alluding to the Bison's recent shooting woes.
"I would like to say that we did not play hard, but I was pleased with the effort. I would like to say that we did not rebound the ball well, but we did. We just did not make shots."
By then, Delaware State (7-10, 2-1 in the MEAC) became comfortable and was able to keep the struggling Bison at bay with baskets by Tahj Tate who tallied 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and Marques Oliver, who added 8 of his 10 after intermission.
Howard was able to cut the lead to under double digits late in the second half on a scoring spurt by Simuel Frazier
who poured in 12 of his 15 in the last five minutes. But it was too big a deficit to overcome and Delaware State put the game away at the free throw line, converting 8 of 8 in the last two minutes.
"It came down to making shots and free throws," explained Nickelberry. "They made theirs and we didn't. "We have to continue to work hard and find ways to make shots."
The Hornets did not exactly shoot the lights out, but Howard made it easy for them by missing 26 of 30 shot attempts in the second half, many coming from within two feet of the basket.
Frazier's 15 points marked the first time in three games that a Bison player has reached double figures in scoring. Tre Lee
came off the bench to score 8 points and Mike Phillips grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in a losing cause.
Delaware State was led Tate's 19, Bell with 14 off the bench and Oliver with 10.
For those who have written the Bison off for the season, Nickelberry cautions: "We were in this same situation last year at 4-17 and we went on to win six of our last nine. I have not given up on this team and neither have they given up on themselves. We can build on this, continue to work hard and have some success the rest of the way."