Howard Seniors Close Out Career
The Howard University men's basketball team will conclude its 2012-13 home and regular season schedule when it takes on the Hornets of Delaware State University, Saturday at 6 pm in Burr Gymnasium.
Four members of the Bison squad will be playing their last home game in a Howard uniform. Tre Lee, Anton Dickerson, Calvin Thompson and Mike Phillips will be honored in the pre-game ceremonies. They will then prepare for the MEAC Tournament, March 11-15 in Norfolk, VA.
When the Bison (7-22, 4-11 in the MEAC) were struggling midway through the season after being hit with some key injuries, head coach Kevin Nickelberry stressed leadership and stepped-up play from the team's senior players.
The Bison have seemed to respond to Nickelberry's appeal and it was no more evident than in Monday's 49-45, come-from-behind win over Maryland Eastern Shore. Trailing by 12 midway through the second half and in danger of losing ground in the seeding for next week's tournament, the seniors responded.
Dickerson, who has been on fire of late from three-point range, led an 18-2 rally that wiped out the deficit and gave Howard the lead for good. The long-range shooter from Brooklyn, NY, nailed four three pointers during the run. His third trifecta gave his team the lead for good. But his fourth long-range bomb was perhaps the most impressive. After he missed the shot attempt form 21 feet, the long rebound came back to Dickerson and he promptly hoisted it with confidence. The shot hit the bottom of the net, giving Howard a four-point lead that it never relinquished.
Equally important to Dickerson's scoring binge where he produced 14 of his game-high 17 points, was the play of Phillips, Lee and Thompson. Phillips, the team's leading scorer with an average of 12 points per game, finished with only two points, but he more than made up with his rebounding along with junior center Alfonso Leary, as they each eight enabling Howard to win the all-important rebounding battle.
Lee, who has played his best basketball over the past 10 games, again came up big with his all-around contribution. The Hampton, VA senior guard tallied 11 points and grabbed four rebounds. His important contribution was his free throw shooting where he converted on seven of eight.
Thompson was making his return after missing 12 games and was understandably rusty. But the wily veteran came through in the clutch, knocking down two free throws that gave the Bison some insurance points.
Sophomore guard Simuel Frazier also contributed to the win with seven points and four rebounds.
Delaware State (12-15, 7-6 in the MEAC) defeated Howard 63-46 on January 23 in Dover, DE. In that game, Howard was completing a road trip that saw them play three games in five days.
Howard has won four straight from the Hornets at Burr Gymnasium. A win would give the Bison some momentum headed into the tournament.