WASHINGTON, D.C. - Marquise Kately scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and Reggie Holmes added 10 after intermission to lead Morgan State University to a 74-69 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium. The win was the seventh straight for the first place Bears (17-10 overall, 11-2 in the MEAC) while the Bison (7-19 overall, 5-7 in the MEAC) dropped their third straight.
The game was competitive throughout. Morgan State shot 50 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes to take a 37-30 lead at the half. Holmes, a senior guard, led the way for the Bears with 11 points while Howard got balanced scoring from sophomore guard Kyle Riley (seven points), senior guard Eugene Myatt and junior center Paul Kirkpatrick, who each added six points.
With seniors Holmes, Kately and Jermaine Bolden taking turns scoring, the Bears twice held 10-point leads. But each time, the Bison rallied on the scoring of Riley, Kirkpatrick and Curtis White. Riley, who missed the last outing with a back injury, showed no effects as he connected on 4-of-5 from the field, including a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc for 11 second half points.
"I have been struggling with this (back) injury," said Riley, who has come on strong the second half of the season. "I am just trying to push myself through it. We're hitting the home stretch and we need everyone to contribute."
He continued, "It is frustrating because we felt like we could play with them tonight."
Kirkpatrick established himself as a strong presence in the post, hitting on 4-of-5 from inside the paint, including an array of dunks and moves that had the crowd and his coach raving.
"Paul really stepped up tonight," said Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "I would like to see him play at that level all the time."
Down the stretch, Howard missed out on some opportunities and the veteran Bears capitalized as Holmes and Kately combined to score seven of their team's last nine points.
"They have some seniors who are veterans and know how to win on the road," said Coach Jackson. "They answered the bell tonight."
Riley led the Bison with 18 points and five assists, Kirkpatrick had 14 and Myatt and White each contributed 12.
The Bears were led by Holmes' game-high 21, Kately's 14 and Bolden's 10 points to go along with seven assists.
GAME NOTES: Howard played without the services of senior guard Randy Hampton, who suffered injuries in an automobile accident...it is not believed to be serious and he was held out as a precautionary measure...after suffering their worst free throw shooting performance of the season in the loss at SC State on Monday, the Bison responded well by shooting 87 percent (13-of-15) for the game...both teams shot 52 percent from the field...Adam Walker had another solid game off the bench with seven points, including his first three pointer, six rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes.
NEXT UP: The Bears step out of conference to take on the Tigers of Towson University in the NCAA Bracket Buster on Saturday at 1 pm while the Bison host Coppin State on Monday at 8 pm in Burr Gymnasium.