Howard University Takes On Oregon State
Corvallis, OR—December 19—The Howard University men's basketball team faces another stern test when it takes on the Beavers of Oregon State University at Gill Coliseum tonight at 7 pm Pacific time. The Bison (3-8) are coming off a hard-fought 60-53 win over Liberty University last Saturday.
The Bison have done it with a formula that includes gritty defense, team effort on the boards, reduction of turnovers and solid leadership from seniors Calvin Thompson and Mike Phillips.
Howard has held its opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field during this four-game stretch. They have been effective in the rebounding area, especially on the offensive glass. Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry always stresses ball security and the team was everything but in the first 8 games, averaging over 19 miscues per game that were being converted into 22 points per contest.
That has all changed dramatically. In the past three games, the Bison have cut down to only seven per game during this period.
A 6-3 red-shirt senior guard from New Orleans, La, Thompson has reached double figures in scoring in the past 5 games he has played, many coming in the second half of games. He is especially adept at getting into the lane and drawing fouls. He takes advantage of the opportunity as he is shooting a career-best 83 percent from the charity stripe.
Moreover, he has scored in double figures in six straight games and 9 of 11 overall on the season.
Another key factor in the team's improved play is Simuel Frazier. The 5-11 sophomore guard from Norfolk, VA, is playing his best best basketball, averaging almost 10 points per game, but more importantly, he has 19 assists and only three turnovers despite logging an average of over 34 minutes per game.
Prince Okoroh has yet to find his rhythm on offense, but his ability to defend the opponents' top athlete or wing player along with his work on the glass (second on the team in offensive rebounds) is an important factor.
After having a strong second half during his freshman year, Alphonso Leary's performance tailed off last season. But the 6-11 junior center from Norfolk, VA, has been consistent with his interior defense and board work this season. Leary leads the team in offensive rebounds with 32, in blocked shots with 16 and third on the team in steals with 11.
The Bison will have their work cut out for them in the Beavers, who are 7-2 on the season and have won three in a row. Oergon State features a balanced attack, led by junior guards Roberto Nelson (16.3 ppg) and Ahmad Starks (13.2 ppg), senior center Joe Burton (10.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and top reserve, junior forward Devon Collier, who is second on the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game.
The Beavers have relied on their three-point shooting (40 percent on the season) and rebounding, where they hold a 41-36 advantage.
This will be the fourth meeting. Howard won the first, but the Beavers have won the last three.