BALTIMORE, FEB. 10 -- George Hamilton scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures as Howard outlasted Coppin State, 81-75, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game tonight at the Coppin Center in Baltimore.

Seventy fouls were called -- 49 in the second half -- 86 free throws were attempted and nine players fouled out.

The game would have been a rout had the Bison (13-8, 7-3 in the MEAC) made their free throws. After going 10 for 10 in the first half, they made 16 of 32 in the second half.

"How do you explain it?" Howard Coach A.B. Williamson wondered. "We hit everything in the first half and then in the second half, when we needed to put the game away, we couldn't buy one."

The Eagles (10-12, 5-5 in the MEAC) shot 13 for 35 in the second half, but stayed close on foul shooting (20-32 in the second half).

In the first half, the Bison made 15 of their 26 shots while holding the Eagles to only one shot per possession.

Due to Hamilton (10 points), John Spencer (10 points) and Howard Spencer, who took turns scoring against the porous Coppin defense, Howard maintained a 41-26 lead.

In the second half, Coppin rallied on the scoring of Derrick Orr (20 points), who scored 11 in a four-minute stretch to narrow the Bison margin to 51-48 at the 12:08 mark.

After calling time, the Bison regrouped and went on a 13-6 run to regain control at 64-54 with 7:05 left.