Howard Edged By Morgan
Washington, DC--Mike Phillips scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the first half and Anton Dickerson tallied nine of his season-high 17 after intermission, but it was not enough to offset the play of Ian Chiles and Justin Black who combined for 18 second half points as Howard fell, 53-51 to Morgan State University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's game at Burr Gymnasium.
The Bears (8-13, 5-5 in the MEAC) won their second straight while the Bison (6-19, 3-8 in the MEAC) had their two-game win streak snapped.
Howard came out of the blocks fast and built a 10-point lead midway through the first half on the scoring of Phillips who scored his team's first 13 points.
Then the Bears began to whittle away at the lead when Chiles and Blake Bozeman teamed to get the Bears back in the game. The Bison led, 25-24 at intermission despite having both Prince Okoroh and Alfonso Leary in early foul trouble
"They wore us down early, said Howard Coach Kevin Nickelberry. "To have two players in foul trouble early really took its toll as the game went on. We were up seven or eight points and then we lost our mojo. Our reserves played hard and well, but they didn't know the defensive rotations as the starters and their size hurt us, especially on box out and pick and roll sets."
Chiles, a 7-2 red-shirt junior center and Bozeman, a sophomore guard, paced the Morgan State attack, Chiles doing his damage in the paint area and Bozeman from long range.
The second half was more of the same as neither team was able to take control. Morgan State's leading scorer Justin Black began to come alive, scoring 9 of his 13 in the second half, most coming down the stretch. Dickerson was able to help the Bison hold serve as he contributed nine of his season-high 17 points, all coming on long bombs.
"Chiles and Black were very big on the glass," noted Nickelberry. "It seemed like in the second half they had some long threes and shots at the end of the shot clock. They really didn't score out of sets that much but it seemed like they scored off a lot of broken plays and tip-ins. Bozeman's three with the clock winding down was big. You feel good when you hold a team to 53 points, but it is frustrating when they score off broken plays." Chiles and Black had 15 rebounds between them, nine off the offensive glass.
Howard center Alfonso Leary scored all seven of his points in the last two minutes, including a key basket that got the Bison to within, 49-47. Then Chiles and Black closed out with free throws. The Bison still had chances but were not able to capitalize.
"They made plays; we didn't," said Nickelberry. "We got three shots in in under 11 seconds and we fumbled an offensive rebound out of bounds. I didn't have any timeouts so the guys were out there playing on the fly. The guys gave a lot of effort, and put themselves in a position to win. I feel bad for them in not coming away with a win."
Chiles led his team with on 7 of 9 from the field while Black and Bozeman added 13 and 11, respectively.
Phillips scored 19 and Dickerson 17. Okoroh, who was coming off a 17-point, 10-rebound effort in the win over UMES, went scoreless in 26 minutes of play.