Howard was sailing along just fine last night, forging a seven-point lead early in the first half of its nonconference game against Towson State. Just fine, that is, until the Tigers went on a debilitating 22-1 run that resulted in another loss for the mistake-prone Bison, 77-62, before 780 at Burr Gymnasium.

"They did a good job defensively and we were impatient," Howard Coach Butch Beard said. "They were ready to play, and I don't think we were."

The Bison's largest lead, 21-14, came after a Skip Bynum three-pointer midway through the first half, but then Towson State went on its run. Howard (1-7) scored one point on a free throw, while the Tigers did their damage.

Junior guard Devin Boyd keyed the streak with several easy layups as the Tigers (3-3) worked the transition game to perfection. Boyd finished with a career-best 28 points on six-for-10 shooting from the floor.

During the run the Tigers scored most of their points with ease, including consecutive layups by Lewis Waller, William Griffin, Terrance Jacobs, Griffin again, and John James.

Despite the scoring drought, Howard trailed only 38-30 with seconds remaining in the half. But Chuck Lightening (Springbrook High School) sent teammate Griffin a perfect alley-oop pass for one score, then Jacobs stole the inbounds and scored at the buzzer. Towson State led 42-30.

"We're coming off a long layoff and I thought we'd be rusty," Towson State Coach Terry Traux said.

Towson State's last game was a 102-88 loss to Navy Dec. 5, but the Tigers were far from rusty, particularly Boyd. He put the game away midway through the second half just when Howard began to stir -- and possibly cut the lead to as little as 12.

But Boyd was fouled on consecutive three-point attempts, and he converted all six of his free throw attempts (15 for 15 in the game) to give Towson State a 66-45 lead.

Guard Keith Kirven, Howard's leading scorer at 15 points a game, was not in uniform, but Beard declined to comment on his status.

Julius McNeil replaced Kirven in the starting lineup and scored a team-best 15 points.