GREENSBORO, N.C. - North Carolina A&T State University dialed long distance and got an answer, connecting on 65 percent from beyond the arc to pull away from Howard University in a somewhat bizzare Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at the Irvin-Corbett Sports Arena.
Using the long ball almost exclusively, the Aggies overcame a slow start to connect of 10 of their 14 three-point attempts during a 10-minute stretch that saw them erase a seven-point deficit and turn it into a 47-32 halftime advantage.
The backcourt duo of Steven Rush and Austin Ewing did most of the damage, scoring 14 points each on 10 of 12 from the field, including 7 of 8 from three-point range. Howard (5-16 overall, 2-6 in the MEAC) trailed despite shooting a season-best 61 percent (14 of 23) from the field.
As hot as the Aggies (11-9 overall, 5-2 in the MEAC) were in the first 20 minutes, they were equally as cold in the second half, going more than 13 minutes with only one field goal. The cold spell allowed the Bison to get within 8 with a little more than 12 minutes remaining and then again to within 6 at 51-45 at the 7:34 mark.
Howard junior forward Randy Hampton spurred the rally by tallying 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second stanza.
But Rush, one of the top three point shooters in college basketball, snuffed out the comeback with a long bomb and two free throws in less than a minute help the Aggies capture their sixth straight.
Hampton led all Bison scorers with 19 while junior guard Eugene Myatt contributed 13 before fouling out and Kandi Mukole added 9 off the bench.
The Aggies got a game-high 24 from Rush, 16 from Ewing and Ed Jones and 10 from Thomas Coleman.
Howard shot a respectable 51 percent for the game, but a combination of turnovers and lack of depth proved to be too much to overcome. The Bison had 24 miscues and played without the services of senior guard Jeron Smith, who was saddled with the flu.
GAME NOTES: Walker continues to make a strong bid for the All-Rookie team...the 6-8 freshman scored 5 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, had a career-best 4 assists and added two more blocked shots to his team-leading statistic...after missing seven games earlier in the season with a concussion, Hampton appears to be fully recovered...in addition to his points, the junior forward grabbed 6 rebounds...sophomore guard Curtis White had another solid performance as he settles into the point guard position...he finished with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals...the Bison bench was outscored, 29-9.
NEXT UP: The Bison continue their road swing on Monday when they take on the surprising Spartans of Norfolk State in Norfolk, VA at 7:30 pm. The Aggies will look to continue their streak when they host the talented Pirates of Hampton University in 9 pm showdown in Greensboro, NC that will be televised on ESPNU.