Last night's game between Howard and Bethune-Cookman matched teams heading in opposite directions. Howard entered the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest having won five of its last six games, needing the win to climb to .500 for the first time this season.

On the other hand, Bethune-Cookman came into Burr Gymnasium having lost its last six games, with its only victory of the season coming over winless (0-15) Morgan State.

When the final buzzer sounded, neither squad had changed direction. The Bison came up with their most productive offensive effort of the season, defeating the Wildcats, 85-73, before 3,000 fans. The victory evened Howard's record at 8-8 for the season and improved its MEAC record to 3-1.

The defeat dropped Bethune-Cookman to 1-10 overall and 1-2 in the conference. The Wildcats have never defeated the Bison in 10 tries.

Howard's next game will be against Morgan State Monday.

Howard, which entered the game averaging 60.2 points, had four players in double figures -- George Hamilton with 17 points, Mike Hampton with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Fred Hill with 12 points and Robert McIlwaine with 11.

Forward Kevin Bradshaw of the Wildcats won game scoring honors with 27 points. Teammate Ronnie Weston added 16.

"The kids got loose today," said Howard Coach A.B. Williamson. "We were hitting our outside shots better; not necessarily our inside shots, though . . . "

The visitors took a 12-5 lead with 14:20 left in the first half. But Howard responded with eight straight points, four by Hamilton, to take a 15-12 lead with 11:59 remaining.

Following a Bradshaw basket that cut the lead to 15-14, Mike Jones (nine points), Hampton and Hill scored to put the Bison on top, 21-14. Howard never trailed again.

In the first half, Howard outshot the visitors, 45.5 percent (15 of 33) to 41.4 percent (12 of 29). The winners also outrebounded the visitors, 20-13, in the first half as they took a 32-26 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, the Wildcats at first stayed close, trailing, 47-40, with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

But the Bison scored eight straight points and took a 55-40 lead with nine minutes remaining. Eight Bison players scored in the second half; five scored for the Wildcats.