For no other reason than there has to be a winner in a basketball game, Howard beat Delaware State, 76-62, last night at Burr Gymnasium.

With the victory, its first in four games, Howard (13-11) tied Florida A&M for second place in the MEAC. Each team is 6-4. There will be a coin flip today to determine who shares a first-round bye with North Carolina A&T in the MEAC tournament March 6-8.

A crowd of 2,300 endured 20 minutes of basketball as it is loosely defined.

The teams committed 48 turnovers, 26 by Howard. There were 49 fouls called. Six players, four Hornets and two Bison, fouled out. Dropping to an 8-15 record (3-7 in the conference), Delaware missed 15 of 23 free throws. Each team shot 41 percent (27 for 66) from the field.

On the positive side, junior James Ratiff scored 30 points and had 16 rebounds for Howard and senior Larry Spriggs grabbed 18 rebounds before fouling out (and drawing a technical) with 1:41 remaining.

David Harrington had 20 points and Jeffrey Jumbs had 18 for the Hornets.

Howard led practically the entire half after holding a 38-30 advantage at intermission. The Hornets took their only second-half lead, 41-40, with 14:55 left on an 11-0 binge. Spriggs' basket put Howard back up and the Bison never trailed again.

Howard clung to a 58-55 lead late in the game, but after a feed from Rodney Wright to Ratiff and two free throws by Wright, Howard led with 3:09 left, 62-55.

The Bison, avenging an earlier 76-74 defeat to the Hornets, got 14 points from Spriggs and 10 from Bernard Perry.