It could be said that Howard enjoys the pleasure of Bethune-Cookman's company.

In their return home after a four-game road trip, the Bison beat the Wildcats, 77-67, last night before 2,700 at Burr Gymnasium, making a scramble of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference race. Howard (10-8) is 4-3 in the MEAC. Bethune-Cookman (12-7) is 4-2.

The victory stopped a three-game losing streak for the Bison. Their last victory had been on the road, against the Wildcats, who have two losses in their last 12 games, both against Howard.

Bison sohpomore guard Bernard Perry had 20 points. He was 10 of 13 from the field. Norris Clemons had 22 for the Wildcats.

"We run a little more and we're just a little too tall for them," Howard Coach A. B. Williamson said. The tallest Wildcat was 6-foot-7. Howard's front line goes 6-11, 6-9 and 6-8. Larry Spriggs and James Ratiff, the forwards scored 19 and 17, respectively.

"They're a patient team," Williamson said. "The main thing for us is that we didn't allow them to control the game. If they get the lead, they try to establish tempo. And that can make a difference with those little quick guys."

Bethune's last lead was 4-2. Howard, shooting 63 percent from the field in the first half to 64 percent for the Wildcats, led at halftime, 42-37. Perry had 12 points and Ratiff 10.

The Bison built an 11-point lead, 58-47, with 13:05 left in a run-and-gun game. Howard slowed things down and saw its lead dwindle as the Wildcats closed within two points, 60-58, with 5:20 to play. But Howard scored eight in a row to lead by 10, 68-58, with 2:40 to go.

The Bison helped themselves by keeping the Wildcats away from the foul line. Ranked ninth in the nation in foul shooting. Bethune took just four free throws, making three.