Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
With tournament time fast approaching, Howard buckled down last night and handed Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference leader South Carolina State an 85-76 defeat before the Bison's largest crowd at Burr Gymnasium in two years.
"We were right tonight," said Bison forward Gerald Glover, who weaved and spun for 14 first-half points that helped put Howard on the road to its 16th victory in 24 games before 2,800 fans.
Glover added, "We want to win it (the MEAC tournament) this year so we can dominate next year."
Dominate was what Howard did last night. The terms started slowly, with the score tied at 10 with 12 minutes to go in the first half. Howard guard David Whitehead connected on a 25-foot trailing jumper on a fast break, which was followed by a Glover stuff after Gerald (Tub) Gaskins stole an inbounds pass.
State's sixth man> skinny 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Bishop Jones, hit one of the 18-foot jumpers he seemed to specialize in last night to pull the Bulldogs within two. But, in a two minute span, Howard got 10 unanswered points on fast-break, close-in jump shots and pulled away.
With 6-8 substitute forward Mike Pressley, 6-10 center Dorian Dent and Glover dominating the boards and clogging the middle. State was forced to shoot from beyond 18 feet on most occasions and could not find the net.
The Bulldogs converted only 32 of 84 floor shots for 38 per cent while Howard made 34 of 71 for 48 per cent. howard also outrebounded the losers, 46 to 37.
"We just didn't play well tonight," said Bulldogs coach Tim Autry, whose team is now 13-10 overall but still leads the MEAC with a 9-2 record.
"We would have liked to have had some momentum going into the tournament but I just don't know now," he added. Tonight, South Carolina State must play second-place Morgan State in Baltimore before heading home to Orangeburg.
Howard coach A.B. Williamson was jubilant after the game and expressewd optimism about Howard's chances against powerful St. John's in a Monday night road game.
"We're playing our best ball right now and that's when it counts. We feel like we can win our tournament, and if we can get any breaks in New York at all, we know we can win there, too. But even if we don't, it beats practicing," he said.
Howard took a 44-35 lead into the locker room at halftime and threatened to blow to blow State out of the gym on several occasions in the second half, leading by as many as 14 points.
Williamson found time to play his seniors - Angelo Council, Ellsworth hart and Ron Parker - who were playing before their last home crowd.
The Bison got 34 points from their bench last night, with forward John Smith, leading the subs with 18 points, followed by Pressley's 14.
Gerald Gaskinshad seven assists and played an excellent floor game.
State's Johns was the game's top scorer with 24 points.