WASHINGTON, D.C. - Aleek Pauline scored a game-high 20 points to lead four players in double figures as Norfolk State defeated Howard University, 72-52 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium. The win avenged an 82-77 loss to the Bison on January 18 in Norfolk, VA.
The Bison (7-17 overall, 6-6 in the MEAC) kept the game close through the first 11 minutes. Then Norfolk State (7-20 overall, 6-6 in the MEAC) embarked on a 9-0 run that opened a 24-15 lead at the 6:55 mark. The Spartans would go on to expand its lead to 37-24 at intermission.
Rob Hampton, Michael DeLoach and Pauline each tallied 9 points as Norfolk State shot 54 percent (14 of 26) in the first 20 minutes. Thirteen of their points came courtesy of 9 Howard turnovers.
"There were early run outs, layups and separation in the scoring," explained Howard Coach Gil Jackson. "They shot and made some three's and then they had enough separation to be relaxed."
The Spartans continued their effective play in the second half as Kyle O'Quinn got into the act, tallying 11 of his 14 points in the second half and providing some physical play.
Norfolk State led by as many as 31 points before the Bison were able to reduce the deficit to make the final score more respectable.
"Norfolk did what they wanted; there was no leadership, not from the seniors or anyone else," said a frustrated Coach Jackson. "We were lethargic. I don't know why. Maybe it was inexperience. They knew the importance of this game but they didn't show it."
Pauline connected on 7 of 11 from the field and collected 6 rebounds while DeLoach (16 points, 7 rebounds), Hampton (11 points, 6 rebounds) and O'Quinn (14 points, 5 rebounds) rounded out the balanced attack.
Howard got a team-high 11 points from freshman Dadrian Collins, who was named the MEAC Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season, and junior forward Adam Walker, who contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds. Calvin Thompson and Curtis added 8 points each in a losing effort.
The Bison are battling several teams for seeding in the conference logjam with four games left in the regular season. Howard will play three of its next four on the road beginning next Saturday at Florida A&M.
"We have three days of preparation before we go to Florida for games against FAMU and Bethune-Cookman," said Coach Jackson. "We will watch film and see how this game got away."
NEXT UP: Norfolk State will host Winston-Salem State next Saturday at 4 pm while the Bison will take on the Rattlers on Saturday at 7:30 pm