Thompson Strong Second Half Leads to Win Over William & Mary
Washington, DC—November 26--Calvin Thompson scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and Prince Okoroh and Mike Phillips contributed 11 and 10, respectively to help Howard University pull away to a 67-58 win over the College of William and Mary in a men's non-conference game at Burr Gymnasium. The win marked the 100th career victory for Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry.
It was closely contested through much of the game with the Bison assuming control early and
taking a 30-24 halftime lead. Thompson (6 points), Okoroh (6 points) and Phillips (5 points) combined for 17 points, but it was Howard defense that forced the Tribe into some poor shot selection that resulted in 33 percent shooting from the field.
"We wanted to keep them away from the three-point line," explained Thompson. "We were focused on making sure that we knew where their shooters were. I thought that we did a good job in that area."
Despite the slim lead, Howard (2-3) was not able to put William and Mary (1-6) away. Brandon Britt and Tim Rusthoven, who combined for 24 second half points, kept the Tribe in the game each time Howard tried to pull away.
"We came out of the half and tried to close out the game," said Nickelberry. "The team is coming together. The freshmen are stepping up and the upperclassmen are being leaders. We just have to work harder on finishing and closing out games."
It was Thompson and Simuel Frazier, who ultimately proved to be the difference. Thompson, a
6-3 red-shirt junior guard and Frazier, a 5-11 freshman guard, created havoc for the Tribe with their defense and ability to get to the rim. Thompson was 9 of 10 from the free throw line in the second stanza while Frazier was forcing turnovers with his defense and on offense with his ability to find open teammates. He finished with 9 points, seven coming in the second half and 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Down the stretch, the Bison defense forced William and Mary into some errant shots and forced to foul, Thompson made them pay.
"We have had some tough losses," said Frazier. "You have to hate losing. That's how you get tough wins like this."
In addition to his 21 points, Thompson grabbed 5 rebounds. Phillips grabbed 6 boards and sophomore center Alphonso Leary had a solid 5 points and 6 rebounds.
Britt led the Tribe with 15, Rusthoven with 13 off the bench and Tom Schlak with 10.
GAME NOTES: Howard held a 42-24 advantage on points-in-the-paint and 12-2 in fast break points. The Bison forced the Tribe to miss 15 of 19 three pointers taken.
NEXT UP: Howard travels across town to take on the Eagles of American University at Bender Arena at 7:30 pm.