Howard, surviving a furious rally that saw visiting Lincoln pull within two points with 2:30 left, fought its way to an 87-85 victory last night at Burr Gymnasuim.
A pair of free throws by Bison guard Andre Byrd with one minute remaining cinched the victory, Howards third straight and fifth in six games. The winless Lions lost their third game of the season.
"I'll accept all the blame for the game ending up this close," said Bison Coach A. B. Williamson, who missed the first three minutes of the second half because of an upset stomach. He nearly had a recurrence as he watched Lincoln's full-court press take Howard apart late in the game.
At one point, Howard has led by 13 points.
"We had a group in there that was running well," Williamson said. "But I wanted to keep the players happy, give some of the bench playing time. I guess the problem was that they were cold coming off the bench."
A jump shot by freshman Lawrence Norfleet had given Howard an 85-72 lead with just over 2 1/2 minutes left.The Lions spurted for seven quick points while their zone press forced Howard into many of its 18 second half turnovers.
Brian King converted a three-point play, Jeff Garrett sank a layup, King hit two free throws and Lincoln was within 85-79.
Byrd's free throws made it 87-79. Then the Lion's Mike Terrell (16 points) went to work, banking a shot to make it 87-81. He hit a free throw as a result of a technical foul call on Bison Louis Wilson, put in an offensive rebound and made the ensuring free throw to reduce the deficit to 87-85 with 12 seconds left.
Wilson missed the front end of a one-and-one situation with 10 seconds left but the Lions blew their chance to tie when a full-court pass bounced off a Lincoln player into the hands of Bison center Dorian Dent.
Dent, who pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds, grabbed 11 missed shots in the final half, denying the Pennsylvania school second shots. The Lions, who have only one player as tall as six-feet-seven, compensated by outhusting Howard at both ends.
Howard grabbed a 6-0 lead but lost it to the jump shots of Donnie Starling and Bob Morris, each of whom scored 10 points in the first half to give the visitors a 40-39 lead.
The Lions hit 54 percent of their shots in the opening 20 minutes, disdainfully taking jumpers over the Bison collapsing man-to-man defense. Meanwhile, Howard managed only 38 percent from the floor.