Gerald Glover likes to called "Dr. G" for his occasionally spectacular whirling dunks off the Howard fast break.
But tonight the 6-foot-7 Howard junior was an inconspicuous master of well-blended team play scoring 26 points that quietly did in host North Carolina A&T as the Bison won their opening-round game in the MEAC tournament, 91-79.
Glover was the fulcrum in a 20-2 second-half burst with eight crucial points as Howard now 17-9 changed a 54-51 deficit into a secure 71-56 lead that was never challenged.
It was Howard's third victory of the year over Bison coach A. B. Williamson's alma mater and it dropped A&T to a dismal 3-24 record for the year.
Howard meets North Carolina Central at 9 p.m. Friday in one semifinal, while Morgan State a 78-73 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore, faces South Carolina State, which drew a bye.
This was the earliest ouster of A&T in this event, which it has won four times in the MEAC's five-year history.
The first half, which ended with Howard in the lead 40-36, was a duel between the team's individual stars and their completely different styles.
A&T's sweet-shooting 6-9 center, LJ. Pipkin, had 15 points at intermission to the 13 of Howard's 6-7 Gerald (Dr. G) Glover, but it was Glover who had far the better half.
Pipkin was the epitome of the "hot dog," interested only in a personal, in-your-face confrontation with the defender of the moment. He played to the home crowd by popping his soaring perimeter jumpers with his mouth as far open as he could manage. When he scored, he gave the Howard tying to keep up with him a lecture on his shortcomings and how futile it was to try and restrain the great "L.J."
Unfortunately, Pipkin was as sad a defensive pigeon as this world may ever see. He seemed to be watching the scoreboard in A&T's man-to-man defense instead of his opponent. Once he lost his man in a switch, picked him back up by pure fortune, then got screened off again for a backdoor layup.
Glover, by contrast, played excellent defense. Once he anticipated an outlet pass, stole it at midcourt, dribbled behind his back (right-to-left) to elude a defender, then went in for one of his jam specials.
A&T opened a 29-22 lead with Pipkin and Ellsworth Turner (out of Gaithersburg High) scoring 23 of the points. But Gerald Gaskins, the Bison point guard who may have more court sense than any two other Howard men scored six quick points to right the ship.
The "pick on Pipkin" strategy worked time and again, either for inside layups or followup rebounds when the tallest Aggie didn't block out, as Howard went in a 22-7 skein for a 44-36 lead.
But just as Howard seemed assured of repeating its previous victories over A&T (by eight and 14 points), the hosts found a strategem of their own Drive they said.
From a simple high-post, wide spread offense the stocky 6 2 Turner blew past Bison guards Gaskins and Hollywood Whitehead for eight points on simple layups. A&T led, 54 51.
But after a dozen drives in a row by one Aggie or another. Howard packed in the defense. A&T kept right on barreling, getting called for charging fouls and taking bad shots. The tide turned and in a hurry.
Glover and Whitehead led the offensive surge while Mike Nettles got extremely mean on the defensive boards.
Glover threw in eight points and Whitehead a trio of jumpers as Howard scored eight in a row, then a dozen, saidwiched around one last Turner drive for a 20-2 blitz.
With eight minutes left, Howard was in the driver's seat where it belonged, leading 71-56 against this every-man-for-himself bunch that had only beaten Delaware State (twice) and Morgan state by a point) all year.
In an earlier game, Delaware State, a 2 25 ballclub that has often had to show up for games with only five players played far, far over their heads in losing to North Carolina Central, 66 65. Ex Howard coach Marshall Emery, in his first year at Delaware State seemed shocked but delighted that his outmanned little team with four football players on the bench for "window dressing" could save a bit of face.