WASHINGTON, D.C.-Corey Lyons knocked down a three-point basket and Michael DeLoach converted the game-winning free throws to lift Norfolk State University to a 54-52 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Spartans (15-13 overall, 11-4 in the MEAC) while the Bison (6-24 overall, 3-12 in the MEAC) had their one-game win streak stopped.
Howard had one of its better shooting performances, hitting on 54 percent (22 of 39) from the field, but missed key free throws down the stretch that would have made a difference. For the game, the Bison missed 7 of 11, with some coming at a point where it would have put pressure on the Spartans.
Eugene Myatt, Randy Hampton and Jeron Smith all missed crucial free throws that would have sealed the victory.
"We just missed them," said Howard head coach Gil Jackson.
The Spartans trailed 52-49 with 1:11 remaining. The Bison defense made it difficult for the Spartans on their possession, but Corey Lyons was wide open with the shot clock winding down. He buried the three-point shot from the right side to tie the score at 52-all with 45 seconds remaining.
"We played great defense on that possession except for the breakdown when they got a three," said Coach Jackson. "But we still had a chance."
The Bison called a timeout and Myatt set up the potential go-ahead basket, but Howard turned the ball over and failed to get a good shot. DeLoach was fouled and he calmly sank both free throws with 3 ticks on the clock to give the Spartans a hard-fought win.
"The last play was supposed to be a dribble penetration," explained Jackson. "We knew they couldn't guard it. Myatt held the ball too long and it's not what we practice. We have to learn how to trust each other."
Myatt led the Bison with 17 points and Hampton came off the bench to add 12. Smith contributed 9.
The Spartans were led by Tony Murphy with 17 and Lyons with 14.
GAME NOTES: Turnovers also played a role in the loss as Howard turned it over 20 times, leading to 21 Norfolk State points...there were seven ties and 14 lead changes during the game.
NEXT UP: Norfolk State will close out the regular season against the Aggies of North Carolina A&T on the road this Thursday at 8 pm while the Bison travel to Hampton, VA to play rival Hampton University on Thursday at 7:30 pm.