A.B. Williamson knew it was only a matter of time before his Howard University basketball team's winning streak would end. The coach thought it highly untimely, though, that it happened tonight, against a team that had been winning only one out of every five games.
Seemingly taking Central Florida too lightly, the Bison dropped a 73-70 decision, ending a run of 10 successive victories. Howard is now 12-6. UCF is 5-16.
"It's hard to a get a team emotionally up when you read the press clippings and know they (UCF) have a bad record," Williamson said. "UCF did a fine job. We had certain parts where we did not play under control."
That proved to be true during a four-minute stretch in the second half in which the Knights outscored Howard by 12-3 to go ahead, 57-49, with 4:09 to play. UCF used a simple 2-3 zone, but it gave Howard fits. With one of their best scorers, forward Mike Hampton, idled with a sore calf, the Bison didn't get the ball inside and appeared to force their shots.
"We didn't attack their zone," Williamson said. "We had the wrong shots taken by the wrong people."
Central Florida responded in the final minutes with precision foul shooting, making 29 of 37 for the game.
Howard still had a chance in the final minute. Earl Smith made two free throws with 37 seconds left that brought Howard within 71-66, and Michael Jones' rebound basket made it 71-68 at 0:26.
The Knights' Pat Crocklin then missed the first of a one-and-one and Howard went on offense again. Robert McIlwaine's jumper fell short and Crocklin got the rebound. He dished it out to Faronte Roberson, whose basket with 10 seconds left was the clincher.
Howard had led early. The Bison scored the first six points and led by seven, 15-8. But UCF went on a 7-2 run that narrowed the deficit to 17-15. The lead ranged from two to six, and the Bison held a 34-30 lead at halftime.
Howard guard Fred Hill was the game's high scorer with 26 points. McIlwaine and Smith contributed 12 and 11. Chris Wallen, six for seven from the field and five for five from the line, led UCF with 17 points. Temple 70, G. Washington 64
Tim Perry scored 17 points, Howard Evans 16 and Ed Coe 15 to lead the Atlantic 10 victory in Philadelphia.
Temple, with its 19th straight victory in its McGonigle Hall, where the Owls have won 57 of their last 58, raised its season record to 16-3, including 8-2 in the conference.
The Colonials (8-12, 3-8) have not defeated Temple in nine visits.
George Washington, which lost to Temple last week, 74-51, got 12 first-half points from Chester Wood and trailed by only 31-27 at intermission. Temple had built its largest lead at 27-20, behind Perry, who scored 10 first-half points.
The Colonials managed to outshoot Temple from the field in the second half, but the Owls maintained their advantage by making 21 of 27 free throws (28 of 36 overall) to only three of six (eight of 14, total) for George Washington. GW shot 56.7 percent from the field, just the second time this season a team has bettered 50 percent against Temple.
The Colonials pulled within 66-62 with 1:21 remaining, but the Owls made four straight foul shots, two each by Perry and Coe, for security.
Troy Webster paced the Colonials with 16 points. Wood and Steve Frick made 14 each. Virginia State 89, UDC 84
The Firebirds lost in overtime at Petersburg, Va., despite an outstanding game by Johnny Jones. He had 32 points and 14 rebounds, and Tim Stanfil backed him with 25 points, but Alfred Cantrell scored 25 for the Trojans and had more help.
UDC (11-10) took an 83-82 overtime lead, but David Mayo scored the last two of his 10 points to put the Trojans (11-8) ahead for good at 84-83.
The Firebirds fouled Cantrell, whose free throws made it 86-83, and fouled Darren Sanderlin with 16 seconds left. The freshman converted both shots.
In all, Virginia State went 17 for 18 from the foul line. UDC made 26 of 31 foul shots.