December 4, 2012
Phillips Strong Second Half Leads Howard to Win Over American University
Washington, DC—December 4—Mike Phillips scored 11 of his game-high 19 points and Calvin Thompson
added seven of his 12 after intermission to lead Howard University to a 55-50 win over American University in a non-conference men's basketball game at Burr Gymnasium.
A 6-7 senior forward, Phillips connected on 5 of 10 from the field in the second half, at one points scoring 11 points on 5 straight possessions as the Bison overcame a seven-point deficit.
As important as Phillips scoring was to Howard's victory, his work on the boards and the defense on Eagles leading scorer Stephen Lumpkins proved to be equally important. Phillips grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, including six off the offensive glass.
"We talked about continuing to play hard and rebound the ball," explained Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "We also wanted to eliminate our turnovers and have someone step up and make some shots. Tonight Mike stepped up for us offensively.
"Lumpkins, who came into the game ranked among the nation's leaders in field goal shooting at 57 percent and averaging almost 18 points a game, was limited to 4 of 11 from the field and 10 points.
"Alphonso Leary's contributions may not show up in the stats, but he did an outstanding defensive job on Lumkins," praised Nickelberry.
Thompson did not shoot the ball particularly well (3 of 11) , but his clutch free throw shooting down the stretch ( 4 for 4) along with his solid defense on American point guard Daniel Fisher helped disrupt the Eagles offensive flow down the stretch.
"Calvin's free throw shooting was big down the stretch," said Nickelberry. "What people don't realize is that he is a great defender. We made a switch in the second half and put him on Munoz. That was a huge factor."
American University (3-5), which had won nine straight from Howard, appeared to control the game early despite not leading by more than seven. American shot 46 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and had several chances to extend its lead, but four points by Phillips and a three pointer by Simuel Frazier
in the 1:24 helped Howard creep to within 26-24 at the half.
The Eagles got a game-high 11 points from Munoz and 10 from Lumpkins. In addition to the scoring of Phillips and Thompson, the Bison got seven from Leary and five key points from senior reserve guard Anton Dickerson
"This is hopefully something we can build on," said Nickelberry. "If we can continue to play hard, rebound the ball well, cut down on our turnovers and have someone make some shots, we have a chance to win some games."
NEXT UP: The Bison travel to Williamsburg, VA to take on William and Mary, Thursday at 7 pm.