Seniors John and Howard Spencer, coming to the end of what has been a disappointing regular season, took control last night as Howard University's basketball team broke a three-game losing streak with a 95-89 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory over Coppin State at Burr Gymnasium.

John Spencer scored 26 points and his younger brother finished with 25 -- career highs for each -- as the Bison (15-11 overall, 9-6 in the league) assured themselves of hosting an MEAC first-round playoff game Tuesday. The semifinal and final rounds of the tournament will be played in Greensboro, N.C.

Coppin State, which came into the game averaging 25 turnovers, fell to 13-14, 8-7. The Eagles received a superb 34-point performance off the bench from freshman guard Otto Barbour, but were hurt by an off-night from their second-leading scorer, Derreck Orr.

Orr came into the game averaging 17.2 points and shooting 47 percent from three-point range. Last night, he made his first and final shots, but missed 13 straight in between, including six from three-point range.

The Spencer brothers came through as Howard received only six points from its bench, which has been depleted the past six games after sixth-man Rocky Gholson was suspended due to a Feb. 6 halftime shoving incident with Coach A.B. Williamson.

John Spencer, a 6-foot-7 forward, finished with 16 rebounds. Howard Spencer, a 6-8 forward who missed part of the season with a knee injury, had 10 rebounds and five assists as Williamson worked his starters extensively.

"I think he {Williamson} was going to let anybody who was going well have a chance to stay in there," said John Spencer. "The regular season has been a disappointment, but, now we are looking forward to Tuesday when we start over."

Coppin State, which has lost six of its seven meetings with Howard, led 49-45 at the half by shooting 63 percent from the floor, including 75 percent (six-of-eight) from three-point range. Forward Phil Booth scored 18 points in the first half, but ran into second-half foul problems and finished with 24.

"We are trying to make believers out of everybody, including ourselves," said Howard Spencer, who scored 16 of his points in the second half. "We have been living by outside shooting, and that's hard to do. Now we are trying to punch the ball inside to John. I think we have all decided we have something still to prove."

Mont.-Germantown 83, Dundalk 78

: Guard William Anderson had 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Gryphons (16-8) to a first-round victory in the Maryland State JUCO Tournament in Hagerstown. Chris Doneski added 19 points for Mont.-Germantown. The Gryphons will play the winner of the Garrett CC and Frederick CC game today at 2 p.m.