Gant's Clutch Free Throws Lift Bison To Win
Gant's Free Throws Lift Howard To Win
Corpus Christi, TX-December 30-Will Gant converted two of three free throws with no time left to give Howard a 68-67 win over Western Illinois University in the consolation game of the Flint Resources Islander Classic at the American Bank Center. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Bison (6-8).
After Western Illinois' Sammy Hunter gave his team a 67-66 lead with 10.1 seconds left, Gant was fouled after attempting a long three pointer with no time left. The 6-2 senior guard from Fort Worth, TX missed the first, but made the second to tie the game at 67-all. Western Illinois called a timeout to freeze Gant, but he 80 percent career free throw shooter calmly sank it to give the Bison a hard-fought win.
Howard came out on fire, hitting on five of six three-point attempts to build an 18-6 lead. But Western Illinois (4-9) rallied on a 27-11 run to take a 35-31 lead at halftime.
The second half featured a nip-and-tuck affair with neither team able to get a comfortable lead. Hunter's basket appeared to give the Leathernecks the edge, but Gant made the heady play that gave the Bison a much-needed win.
Gant, who finished with a team-high 14 points was one of five Howard players to score in double figures. Senior forward Darryl Hudson tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds, senior forward Stanley Greene, who has stepped up his game, also had 11. Senior guard Darek "Skip" Mitchell chipped in with 12 points, all coming on three pointers.
But the biggest boost to the Bison's psyche was the contribution of freshman center Paul Kirkpatrick, who scored a career-high 12 and grabbed a career-best 7 rebounds.
Western Illinois was led by Owens-Murrey Jerryck who led all scorers with 17 points, Hunter who scored 14 and Troy Okesa, who tallied 12 in a losing effort.
GAME NOTES: Gant, who set a new school record for three pointer made in a career, added four more as all of his field goals came from beyond the stripe...Hudson continues his streak of having scored in double figures in all 14 games this season and 19 of the last 20 dating back to last season...the Bison continue to shoot well from the free throw line, connecting on 81 percent in the second half.
NEXT UP: Howard will continue this seven-game road trip when it travels to Orangeburg, SC to take on the Bulldogs of South Carolina State on Saturday at 6 pm. It will then follow with a Monday night ESPNU game against the Aggies of North Carolina A&T on Monday in Greensboro, NC.