Washington, DC—November 14--Calvin Thompson scored 19 of his game-high 23 points and Alphonso Leary and Mike Phillips added 13 and 11, respective after intermission to help Howard erase a halftime deficit and pull away to an 83-63 win over Washington Adventist University in a non-conference men’s game at Burr Gymnasium.
The win was for the first of the season for the Bison (1-1), who were coming off a 63-48 road loss to Bowling Green on Friday.
The Shock (0-1) appeared to be the team with a game under their belt as they came out with a lot of energy and bolted to a 12-point lead, taking advantage of 17 Bison turnovers. Marcus Coleman and Jamie Newton did most of the damage, combining for 23 of WAU’s points en route to a 38-34 lead at the half.
“It was by no means a good first half for us,” said Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. “There were some nerves that took over in the first half and it showed.”
Despite the halftime deficit, Howard was able to set the tone for the second half by liberally using its bench, which accounted for 23 of the team’s 34 points at the half. Freshman guard Simuel Frazier (11 points) and junior forward Dadrian Collins (8 points) came off the Bison bench to combine for 19 points.
“The freshmen played better and it allowed our upperclassmen to take over in the second half, said Nickelberry.”
The Bison embarked on a 15-10 run in the first five minutes to take the lead for good at 49-48. Leary capped off the run with a monster dunk off a feed from Thompson that resulted in a three-point play.
From there, Thompson had his way with the Shock, scoring on an array of slick moves to the basket and pull-up, medium range shots. Leary was able to use his 6-10 height to victimize the shorter Shock defenders. He was a perfect 5 for 5 from the field in the second half. “Calvin looked at me coming out of the locker room at the half and said ‘Coach look to me and Alphonso.’ He showed great leadership and that is what we need from him.” And just for good measure, Phillips overcame some early foul trouble to score 11 points in 18 minutes of play in the second stanza.
After shooting 35 percent from the field in the first 20
minutes, the Bison improved to 59
percent (16 of 27) in the second half. They also cut down on their turnovers, amassing only nine
in the second half. Thompson also grabbed eight rebounds and dealt out five assists, but it was his defense, which proved to be an important asset to the victory. WAU’s quick and speedy point guard Jamie Newton was giving the Bison fits in the first half, breaking down their defense, getting in the lane, scoring and setting up teammates.
Nickelberry made an adjustment at the half and assigned Thompson
to guard the disruptive
Newton. It paid off as Newton scored only two baskets in the second half and made on two of
seven from the field to finish with 18 points. “We started out with Brandon Ford on him, but we made the switch to Calvin,” explained Nickelberry. “Calvin is a veteran and he matched up better with him.” Coleman matched Newton with 18 for the Shock while Brandon Washington contributed 10.
Phillips just missed a double-double with nine rebounds while Frazier finished with a career-high 14 points and five assists.
NEXT UP: There is no rest for the weary. The Bison travel to Norfolk, VA to take on the Monarchs of Old Dominion University on Tuesday at 7 pm, making it their third game in five days.