Howard Spencer and George Hamilton combined to spark a second-half surge as Howard University defeated Bethune-Cookman for the 18th consecutive time, 72-64, last night at Howard's Burr Gymnasium.

Throughout the game, when the Wildcats were attempting to take control, Spencer (a season high 23 points) or Hamilton (25 points) delivered a clutch basket to elevate the Bison.

In their first meeting this season in Miami, Bethune-Cookman held a 10-point lead with three minutes remaining and lost, 59-58. This time, however, Howard nearly blew a big lead during the closing minutes.

Trailing, 65-54, with three minutes left, the Wildcats went on a 10-2 rally, drawing within 67-64 on James Turner's three-pointer with 31 seconds remaining.

But Howard (12-8, 6-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference), which has won 17 of its last 18 home games, quickly rushed the ball down court and fed the ball to John Spencer (13 points, 15 rebounds) for a layup. Spencer was also fouled on the play and his free throw made it 70-64 with 22 seconds left.

Bethune-Cookman (4-20, 4-11) was outrebounded, 45-24, by the Bison.

Howard, which led by 16 points twice, couldn't break away from Bethune-Ccokman, primarily because of the efforts of the Wildcats' Anthony Anderson (13 points).

UDC 96, Bowie St. 73:

Richard McLean scored 18 points and Lyndon DeBellotte 15 to lead the Firebirds (19-3) to a nonleague win at Bowie (3-19).

Mike Sinclair led the Bulldogs with 29 points and Kevin Ihejeto had 12 rebounds.

Montgomery-Germantown 92, Charles 78:

Chris Doneski scored 26 points and Mike Spieler 22 to lead the Griffins (13-6) at Charles.

Clarence Ball scored 31 points, including five three-pointers, to lead Charles. Teammate Winston Datcher had 20.