Eric Evans scored six of Morgan State's final eight points including the winning basket with 2 1/2 minutes remaining to spark the visitors over Howard University, 78-74, in a Mid-eastern Atlantic Conference game last night at D.C. Armory.
Morgan lifted its record to 2-0 in the conference and 9-3 overall. The loss dropped Howard to 1-1 in conference play and 9-3 overall.
"We just can't win the big ones," said an irate Howard coach, A. B. Williamson.
The same problems that plagued the Bisons last year surfaced again at the most inopportune time. The guards played poorly committing turnovers while scoring only 15 points between them.
A fast-break layup by Howard's Ellsworth Hart tied the score at 68-68 with 5:44 remaining in the game.
But Evans, held to only a basket in the first half, began to go to the hoop. He sank a turnaround layup to put his team ahead to stay 70-68.
Howard threw the ball away on its next possession and Ivan Young drove the lane for another easy basket and a four-point Morgan State lead. Evans dropped in two more baskets to stretch the Bears' advantage to 76-68, the largest lead either team held in the seesaw contest.
Meanwhile, Howard, throwing up one bad shot after another or committing violations, went scoreless for four minutes.
Howard's John Smith, who threw in five straight baskets at one point early in the second half, finally broke the drought with two free throws with a 1:21 on the clock.
Smith's free throws perked up the frustrated Bisons and a rather quiet crowd of 3,250. Howard' David Whitehead and Mike Nettles converted back-to-back baskets to pull Howard to within two, 76-74, with 1:03 to play.
Morgan stalled until Howard was forced to foul. Steve Turpin missed the ensuing free throw and Howard's Gerald Glover pulled down the rebound.
After a time-out, Gerald Gaskins' attempted pass went threw Smith's legs and State's Jimmy Gorman came up with the loose ball with one second on the clock. Gorman was immediately fouled and sank both ends of a one-and-one to close out the scoring.
Morgan's pattern offense gave the hosts' man-to-man defense fits throughout most of the game. Of the 18 first-half State baskets, 10 were layups and five other were scored from an arm's reach of the basket.