Twenty-four hours after presenting Coach A. B. Williamson a heroic 64-62 triple-overtime victory over tough Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival North Carolina A&T, Howard incurred his wrath last night with its sluggishness in dispatching another MEAC team. He was unhappy although winless South Carolina State yielded, 83-70, before 2,200 at Burr Gymnasium.
Moving to 2-0 in the conference and 6-4 overall, Howard shot 54 percent from the field and played well in spurts. But the Bison committed 23 turnovers and were outrebounded by the shorter visitors, 50-49. The rebounding statistic was a bit much for williamson to stand.
"They'll hear about this Monday," said the coach, who calmed himself by sitting on the steps far away from the locker room. "I didn't like what i saw out there at all. We didn't play with intelligence or intensity. We lost balls, missed rebounds and did a lot of things we shouldn't be doing.
"We're ahead by 12 points at halftime and let them get right back in the game.There's just no excuse for our poor effort in the second half."
S. C. State, 0-2 in the conference and 0-8 overall, made nine of 33 shots in the first half but hit nine of its first 15 after intermission to close within 49-44 with 14:02 on the clock.
Howard, which shot 61 percent in the final 21 minutes, pulled itself together and ran off two separate 8-2 streaks to quiet the Bulldogs and Williamson.
James Terry, in relief of foul-plagued Larry Spriggs, started the first spurt with a short jump shot. James Ratiff (20 points), Spriggs (18) and Rodney Wright each scored two baskets in the next five minutes to give Howard a safe 65-50 advantage.
"I don't think we were thinking about the A&T game, maybe it was the cold weather," said Terry, who had a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds. "I don't mind not starting as long as I'm contributing. I thought I was in a slump but I was pretty relaxed tonight."
While most of the Bison were going through the motions in the first half, Terry scored 11 points, five of them in a row, to help Howard break a 17-17 tie. His dunk following a perfect alley-oop pass from Bernard Perry gave Howard a 30-22 lead. SCS drew within four points before Terry converted two straight dunks. Ratiff added a reverse layup and Louis Wilson two free throws to give Howard an apparently comfortable 38026 lead at intermission.
The Bison's flag-waving defense and nonagressiveness on the boards resulted in at least six easy baskets for the Bulldogs in the opening minutes of the second half.
Four S.C. State players scored as the Bulldogs began cutting into the Howard Lead. A breakaway layup by Franklin Giles and a dunk by Bryan Grice cut the lead to five points, 49-44, before Howard got serious.
"Terry had done a good job for us all year," Williamson said. "He's one of the players who has been consistent. I just didn't like our total team effort."