Howard raced from behind with 13 straight points in the second half and overpowered George Mason's jumping youngsters, 70-62, last night at Howard.
The Bison, unable to restrain themselves from costly fouls and turnovers, trailed. 41-37, when the Patriots suddenly slipped into the same habits.
On five trips down the court in a three-minute segment, Mason managed only one off-balance shot. Three turnovers and a charge destroyed the Patriots' momentum, while the Bison weren't missing.
Louis Wilson, a freshman guard from Douglass High in Upper Marlboro, didn't miss at all. He made five of five shots in the game, two during the 13-point surge.
Andre Gaddy, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Brooklyn, fouled out with Mason behind, 50-41, and that seemed to be the final note of Howard's victory crescendo. The game, however, was not over.
Howard, after a brief taste of successful delay offense, went back to moving underneath and encountered its earlier problems. The Patriots, from a 60-51 deficit, scored seven points in a row, with veteran guard Myron Contee and 6-4 Hoyal Smith doing the scoring.
After Howard coach A. B. Williamson ordered a time-out, the Bison calmed down. WIlson freed himself underneath for an easy basket, Gerald gaskins sank two free throws and a Dorian Dent dunk put the stuffing in place.
This was truly a strange game. Howard made its first six shots for a 13-5 lead. Then 6-7 forwards Mike Nettles and Gerald Glover began attracting whistles and each had his third foul by the 12-minute mark.
Eight points by substitute guard Gary Adams, another freshman, were all that kept Howard in contention as Mason slipped in front, 29-27 with 7:50 left in the first half. Howard, protecting its foul-problem children and stung by 15 turnovers in 12 minutes, dropped into a 2-3 zone and Mason elected to stall.
For the rest of the half, there was no scoring. Most of the time, Gaddy and Steve Bacon exchanged passes while Adams pursued half-heartedly to fulfill the rules requirements. Howard's excellent pep band kept the 2,500 fans awake.
"It's their court and if we can go in at halftime two points ahead, we'll take it," said Mason coach John Linn.
"It was a help for me," Williamson said. "My guys got a rest and we didn't have to worry about more fouls. I thought we'd be maybe eight down if we kept playing the way we were. We were over-aggressive when the game started and we were taking silly fouls."
The Bison lay back and permitted the Patriots to drive on them in the early going. After Williamson's half-time instructions, things changed. Suddenly, Mason couldn't get inside, but its experienced big men kept trying and the fouls mounted.
"We were not sloughing off enough in the first half," williamson said. "We should have been taking charges. Their big people were out of control going for the basket and they got in anyway. In the second half we dropped back off their guards, and we were more aggressive on rebounds."
Dent, only player on either team to go the route, hauled in 14 rebounds, almost half of Howard's total.
Mason did not subsitute until Gaddy foulded out, as Linn wanted to give his freshman starters, Gddy and Riley Clarida, a good look.
"We used a lot of people in our first game and I wanted to settle the younger players down." Linn said. "We were much better tonight until we got into foul trouble."
Howard is now 1-1, Mason 0-2.