Howard Pulls Out Win Over Bowling Green
Washington, DC—November 12---Alphonso Leary overcame early foul problems and came up with a key three-point play to help Howard defeat Bowling Green, 54-52 in a non-conference game at Burr Gymnasium.
A 6-9 freshman center from Norfolk, VA, Leary was fouled and then finished the three-point play with a free throw with 31 second remaining to give the Bison a 54-50 lead. The Falcons (0-1) were able to get within two 11 seconds later when Luke Kraus nailed two of three free throw attempts.
Howard missed out a chance to close out the game on the ensuing possession when Kyle Riley missed two free throws, but the Bison dug in and held off the visitors to secure their first home opener in eight years.
"I am really proud of how this team hung together and fought their way to this win," said a hoarse Kevin Nickelberry who notched his first win as head coach at Howard. "We made some mistakes, we missed some free throws but in the end, we hung together and toughed out a win."
Leary was thrust into the starting lineup after projected starter Theodore Boyomo tore his ACL in a pre-season exhibition two weeks ago and was declared out for the season after surgery. His inexperience showed early when he picked up his third foul and was forced to sit out 14 minutes of the first half.
It took the young center a while to make his presence felt but he came through at the right time for the Bison.
"In the first half, he played like a freshman," said Nickelberry, of one of his two recruits he signed since he was hired in May. "I like the way he stepped and gave us a chance to compete. "
Howard (1-0) got a balanced attack as Calvin Thompson (11 points), Mike Phillips (11 points, 8 rebounds), Kyle Riley (10 points) and Dadrian Collins (10 points, 7 rebounds) all scored in double figures.
"I thought Mike Phillips played big for us, especially on the boards and going to the basket," said Nickelberry. "Kyle made some key plays in the second half and I was really impressed with Calvin's leadership."
Bowling Green rode the scoring of Scott Thomas, who led all scorers with 20 points and freshman center Cameron Black, who scored 8 of his 10 points in the second half.
NEXT UP: Bowling Green returns home to take on Ohio Dominican on Monday at 8 pm while the Bison will the Bison will travel to West Lafayette, IN to take on nationally ranked Purdue on Sunday at 4 pm.