Howard flexed both its muscle and mental faculties in the second half to pull away from Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe South Carolina State and prevail last night at Burr Gymnasium, 95-77.
The Bison ended a four-game losing streak and raised their record to 10-7, 2-2 in the conference.
Freshman guard Moe Young, making his third straight start, played his second outstanding game in the last three, canning 10 of 15 shots in scoring 21 points, adding seven assists and recording three steals. Young started in place of Nathaniel Speight, the team's third-leading scorer, who saw no action.
"I had to make a cold-hearted decision," said Bison Coach A. B. Williamson. "I decided to go with a threeguard rotation (Young, Louis Wilson and Jeff Beard). "Before, I was trying to pacify a lot of people by putting them in. But if you keep riding the same roller coaster, you'll end up in the same park.
"Young had to await his turn. In the beginning of the season, we were starting the seniors. Young's showing tonght proved he had played on a good program in high school (Mackin). He was super, with and without the ball."
The entire Bison starting five played well, hitting double figures, Wilson was the only starter who did not shoot at least 50 percent, but made up for it with a game-high eight assists.
Twenty-five of Howard's 40 field goals were assisted as the hosts shredded State's first-half zone and scond-half man-to-man defenses for a 52 percent mark from the floor.
The Bulldogs scord the game's first five points and 2 1/2 minutes into the game led, 9-4. But Howard unraveled the State zone for eight straight points in the next 1:22 getting four points from Young, and took a 12-9 lead.
The visitors showed why they have now lost 10 of 14 -- four of five in conference play -- by hurting themselves with four loose-ball fouls at their defensive end of the court in the early going. The Bison ran off another 8-0 spurt to grab a 21-13 lead with 13:18 remaining.
With the Bulldogs trailing, 23-15, State Coach Tim Autry sent in a fresh five midway through the first half: the quintet responded by going scoreless for three minutes. By then, the Bison held a 29-17 advantage. Young (14 first-half points) and forward Carlton Richardson (13) continued to bang away, upping the margin to as much as 17.
Howard fell apart over the final three minutes, against a Bulldog man-to-man defense, committing five turnovers and missing a shot to end its last six possessions. The grateful Bulldogs pulled within 44-35 by intermission.
State continued its man-to-man and pressed full court to start the second half. Nine points by guard Marty Lane and four by forward Gregory Wilson keyed a 17-10 Bulldog surge that reduced the Bison margin to 54-52.
"We were tentative at first," explained Williamson. "Then (Louis) Wilson decided he would take over. He started penetrating, passing off and getting easy shots."
Bison center Dorian Dent connected on two short shots -- including a dunk on Wilson's assist -- Wilson added an 18-footer and Young tallied five points during a 13-2 streak in the next two minutes that gave Howard a 67-54 lead and iced the game.
Richardson scored a game-high 23 points to help Howard amass its best offensive output of the season. Dent and power forward Larry Spriggs, the conferencehs Nos. 1 and 2 rebounders, respectively, combined for 22 rebounds, Spriggs pulling down a game-high 12.
Forward Arthur Snipe, S.C. State's second-leading scorer (14.6), picked up two quick fouls in the first five minutes, had four by halftime and played only 20 minutes before fouling out. Lane triggered the visitors with 15 points, but missed 11 of 17 shots. Joe Robinson. State's leading scorer (15.5), was only three of 17 as the Bulldogs shot a weak.373.