WASHINGTON, D.C. - Paul Kirkpatrick scored the go-ahead basket on a dunk and then added two free throws to help Howard University defeat North Carolina A&T, 77-74 in a nip-and-tuck Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium.
First, the Aggies (8-13 overall, 2-5 in the MEAC) took a 74-73 lead with 40 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws by Ed Jones. The Bison (4-16 overall, 3-5 in the MEAC) then called a timeout to set up a play for Kirkpatrick. With North Carolina A&T gearing its defense to stopping Howard guard/forward Eugene Myatt, the Bison patiently worked the clock down. Kirkpatrick flashed across the lane, got a nice pass down low and threw down a monster dunk that gave his team a 75-74 lead with six seconds remaining.
"We ran a play called Houston that gave us a lot of options," explained Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "We really wanted to go inside off that set. It was good execution."
The Aggies pushed the ball up the court and attempted a shot that missed and was gathered in by Kirkpatrick. The 6-9 junior center sank both free throws to give the Bison the win and snapped a two-game losing streak.
The game was well played with neither team able to pull away. HU had a slight 36-30 advantage at the half, mainly on the scoring of Kyle Riley, who tallied 14 of his team's points.
Myatt, who missed the last game due to a back injury, began to assert himself in the second half. He scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half and extra period, including six of seven from the free throw line.
"He was a steadying factor for us in the second half, but especially in overtime," said Coach Jackson. "He kept his head and got to the foul line when we went to him."
The Bison were in a position to win the game twice in regulation. They held a 68-65 lead with 54 seconds remaining but they allowed Robert Johnson to nail a three pointer with 12 seconds remaining.
Then Riley drove down the lane and attempted a layup that came out. There was still time on the clock for a tip-in but Howard's Kandi Mukole's dunk attempt on the follow was too strong.
"I just told the team that they have to trust each other," said Coach Jackson. "Eugene was a little bit out of sync but he came up big and not just scoring. His presence helped us get some opportunities."
Riley and Myatt each scored 16 while Curtis White had a strong floor game with 13 points and four assists and Randy Hampton chipped in with 10 off the bench.
Ed Jones led all scorers with 19 for the Aggies while Robert Johnson chipped in with 14.
GAME NOTES: Howard held a 23-14 advantage in points-off-turnovers but the Aggies won the off-the-bench battle, 31-19...Kirkpatrick scored only eight points but he had three steals and a blocked shot...C.J. Prince again came off the bench to give the Bison a lift...The junior guard nailed three, three pointers and finished with nine points.
NEXT UP: The Aggies travel to Hampton, Va, to take on the Pirates of Hampton University on Monday at 7:30 pm while the Bison host the Spartans of Norfolk State University on Monday at 8 pm in Burr.