Howard University took advantage of an inexperienced Morgan State basketball team plagued with poor passing and George Hamilton scored 18 points and Mike Jones had 15 to pace the Bison to their fifth straight victory, 83-61, last night at Burr Gymnasium.
Howard's record rose above .500 for the first time this season, 9-8, and its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference record reached 4-1. Morgan State, which started four freshmen and a sophomore, dropped to 0-16, 0-5.
The Bears' problems started early. After Morgan State's William Lawson converted a steal into the first two points of the game, the Bears managed to build their biggest lead of the contest, 8-4. Sophomore forward James Ward, the only player for Morgan State who is not a freshman, scored four of the points and assisted on another field goal before Howard took control of the game.
Taking advantage of the Bears' poor passing, Howard scored the next 11 points to take a 15-8 lead with just under 14 minutes left in the period. Hamilton began the streak with two free throws, his reward for being fouled on a breakaway. Fred Hill contributed the next seven points and Mike Hampton finished the run when he converted the offensive rebound of an errant Hill 12-footer.
Ward converted a three-point play with 13:29 remaining in the half to end Morgan State's drought, but Howard was poised for yet another run.
Leading, 19-13, the Bison rattled off the next 15 points and led, 34-13, with 7:30 remaining in the period. Hamilton scored eight of the points and Jones scored five.
Morgan State fought back, putting together a 12-2 run of its own to cut the deficit to 36-25. Ward scored eight of the points with two three-point plays and Randy Hampton scored the other four.
But Howard scored six of the last eight points of the half, to lead, 44-30, at intermission and the Bears' poor ball-handling prevented any real second-half threat.
For the Bison, Robert McIlwaine had 12 rebounds and Mike Hampton had 10 points, and Jones had six steals and four assists.
"McIlwaine does a tremendous job for us in the middle," said Bison Coach A.B. Williamson, who was not pleased with his team's 28 turnovers. "He does real good at spreading their offense. Of course, Morgan State's not that big and not that experienced. Once they get used to working the ball around and being patient, they'll improve. But everyone seems to forget that we're a young team too. We don't have any seniors."
Randy Hampton led Morgan State with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals, and Ward had 18 points and seven rebounds.