Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Howard University snapped out of its dreadful slump with a resounding 97-69 thumping of Maryland-Eastern Shore in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship tournament Thursday night.
The Bison had lost four in a row, and in the words of coach A. B. Williamson, "were struggling." But behind MEAC player of the year Gerald Glover and burly Michael Nettles, the Bison broke away from a 37-33 halftime lead with a 60-point second half.
Glover posted 16 of his 27 points after intermission and Nettles 14 of his 24 in the same period.
Morgan State beat North Carolina Central, 79-69, in its first-round game yesterday, setting up last night's 7 o'clock semifinal of Howard versus Morgan, an old nemesis.
The 9 o'clock semifinal pitted the regular-season MEAC champion, North Carolina A&T, which had a bye yesterday against South Carolina State, a 64-50 winner over Delaware State in the opener.
Howard struggled in the first half against UMES, mostly because of carelessness, but came out after the break as if bent on proving something, and buried the startled Hawks.
Glover and Nettles combined for 22 points in the second half's first eight minutes as Howard cruised to a 15point lead. The Bison steadily increased it through most of the action thereafter.
Eastern Shore, with only one senior on its entire team, wilted. After a while the Hawks started throwing the ball at the basket without a semblance of a set or planned offense. Howard, meanwhile, was controlling the boards and the tempo.
"Our front line is our strong point and that is where we should beat them," Williamson said.
"We've had a rough February and the way we played in the second half is definitely the best we've played in a while. We had some troubles in the first half, but we got it straight in the second half. Recently we had been playing about 30 minutes of basketball and 10 minutes of kindergarten ball. We did a lot better tonight."
Glover, who made nine of 17 shots from the field, nine of 12 from the line, took 11 rebounds, had three assists and made two steals, also turned in an outstanding defensive job on Eastern Shore's Ken Simmons.
Simmons was the conference's leading regular-season scorer with a 25point average. Glover held him to 21 points, forcing him into missing 17 of the 24 shots he fired up.
Howard played a zone defense some of the time, but stayed in a man-to-man most of the way and whenever the Bison were in that defense, Glover was in Simmons' face.
"I asked coach to let me play Simmons," Glover said. "I just seem to play a better all-round game when I guard a good offensive player. I think I shut him off pretty well.
"When the rest of the team sees me playing well, it responds," Glover added. "We controlled the boards and that's what did it.
"We still aren't where we could be or should be, though, I feel that we're almost there, but we are still missing that little something. I just hope we get it by the time we play Morgan."
Howard outrebounded Eastern Shore, 44-38, but perhaps the most revealing statistic was the assists. Howard had 14, UMES only three. That is one reason Howard shot 54 percent from the field to 38 percent by Eastern Shore.