South Carolina upset Howard, 78-72, tonight, sending home the Bison, who had started a weekend road trip tied for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference lead, with a 3-3 conference record.

Down 17 points with 11:01 left in the game, Howard rallied to narrow the gap to five points with 2:20 remaining but the drive stalled.

Junior guard Bernard Perry sparked the Bison rally with a career high of 30 points -- 26 in the secondd half -- but he fouled out with 1:10 remaining.

It was the third straight loss for Howard (9-8, 3-3), which dropped anotherr conference game Friday night to North Carolina A & T. South Carolina State is 5-10 and 3-4 in the MEAC.

Playing without forward Larryy Spriggs, sidelined with an injured foot, Howard trailed, but remained within easy striking distance during the firstt half, despite 30-percent shooting. The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the floor during the first half and led, 34-31, at halftime.

In the second half, South Carolina State opened up a 13-point lead.The Bison cut that margin to 10, 56-46, before South Carolina grabbed a 17-point lead on a bizarre seven-point play.

That came when Bulldog Joe Robinson scored and was fouled.The successful free throw stretched the margin to 59-46.

But Howard Coach A.B. Williamson and the Howard bench thought Robinson had charged Bison guard Rodney Wright, and they said so in no uncertain terms -- and so often -- that two two-shot technical fouls were called on the coach and the Howard bench.

South Carolina State sent in Kirt Collier, who made all four shots to put the Bulldogs up, 63-46, and thee game out of Howard's reach.