Howard had to struggle for 38 minutes against Division II Monmouth in a near-empty Burr Gymnasium last night before scoring the final 12 points to clinch a 75-62 victory.
Howard (14-8) broke a two-game losing streak while Monmouth (8-14) lost its 11th game in 11 tries against Division I schools.
Monmouth's Gary Carter, who totaled 19 points, made two free throws with 1:49 to go to narrow the Bison lead to 63-62. Howard then went to a delay game and Mason McBride fouled Derek Carraciolo, a freshman who was shooting 48 percent from the line; he made both shots.
Howard's 1-3-1 defense forced a turnover and the Bison had six free throws in the next 40 seconds for a 71-62 advantage with 39 seconds left.
"I shoot free throws in practice with no problem," Carraciolo said, "but sometimes I go through the motions in games. Tonight, I had more confidence because it was a pressure situation."
Early on, the Bison played at Monmouth's slow tempo and the half ended with them trailing, 35-33.
But Howard seemingly took control at 53-48 with 10:30 remaining. Then, Monmouth switched to a 2-3 zone and Carter and Don Geczi helped the Hawks to a 60-59 lead with four minutes to go. Monmouth went to a delay game, and Jesse Stout threw the ball away.
Howard's Gino Warner followed with an eight-foot shot and Bernard Perry then stole the ball and drove the length of the court for a resounding jam, which put Howard ahead, 63-60, with 2:25 left.