Following three consecutive defeats this season by a combined total of 17 points, Coach A.B. Williamson's Howard squad finally won its first game, defeating Towson State, 67-60, last night before 1,500 at Burr Gymnasium.
"I felt we needed this game," said Williamson, whose team will play Providence Monday night. "The fans came in to see us during exam time, so we needed to win. I feel we can beat Providence if we play them like Carolina (Howard lost to the Tar Heels, 77-63, Monday after leading by two at halftime). We have to play them like they are just another team."
Robert Jones, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, entered the game averaging 8.3 points. He made 13 of 19 shots last night as the game's leading scorer, with 27 points.
"I was just hitting the shots," said Jones. "Coach was disturbed at me (after Howard lost to St. Peter's, 49-47, in overtime Thursday). I shot 100 layups and took a lot of jump shots in practice. I was determined to make what I put up."
Jones scored 15 points in the first half as the Bison took a 35-33 lead. Howard, which never trailed, led, 24-7, at the 10:15 mark, then was outscored, 25-11, the rest of the half.
Towson's Bill Leonard, East Coast Conference rookie of the year last season, ended the first half by making a jumper from the top of the key to cut the visitors' deficit to two points.
In the second half, Howard scored 12 straight points to take a 47-33 lead before Ken Gorham (10 points) scored the first second-half points for Towson (1-4) at 14:20 to make the score 47-35.
Following a basket by Jones, Howard led, 65-55, with 1:44 remaining and its first victory was assured.
The Bison seem to be adjusting comfortably to the loss of 6-8 center Derek Caracciolo, who broke his arm in the North Carolina game. The Bison outrebounded the Tigers, 36-26, with 6-4 guard Mike Hampton getting a game-high six.