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Sunday, January 15, 2023

Howard U Sports Update: Howard Men’s Basketball Ends Spartans’ 19-Game Home Win Streak

 Howard Men’s Basketball Ends Spartans’ 19-Game Home Win Streak

Bison edge out defending MEAC Champions Norfolk State


(Photo Credit – David Sierra)


NORFOLK, Va. (January 14, 2023) – Howard University sophomore guard Marcus Dockery (Washington) poured in a game-high 24 points, but it was the clutch free throw shooting of fellow D.C. natives guards Elijah Hawkins and Jelani Williams that proved to be the difference as HU pulled off an 86-84 win over Norfolk State (NSU) in a wild Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) showdown at Echols Memorial Hall.


The Bison improve to 9-10 (2-1 MEAC) while the Spartans (12-6, 2-1 MEAC) had their 19-game home win streak come to a halt.


"I like the way the team responded in the second half," said Howard Head Coach Kenneth Blakeney in the postgame. "It was nothing I said at halftime. They just took ownership, communicated and encouraged each other. It was good to see."


The defending MEAC Champion Spartans jumped out to the early 46-37 halftime lead and maintained a double-digit lead through most of the second half. Then with seven minutes left on the clock, Howard made its move and showed why it is developing a personality as a strong second half team.


Riding the hot-shooting of Dockery and Williams, the Bison fought all the way back to take the lead at 83-82 on a three-point play by Williams, his second in a 12-second span, with six seconds on the clock.


Before the team could celebrate, Norfolk State's Joe Bryant showed why he is the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year. Before the Bison could blink, the 6-foot-1 senior guard answered on the Spartans ensuing possession with a driving layup that gave his team an 84-83 advantage with just five seconds remaining.

With one second remaining on the clock, the Bison got a break when the Spartans were assessed a technical foul after having been warned early in the game for coming onto the court.


It sent Hawkins, an 80-percent career free throw shooter to the line and the sophomore calmly sank both free throws with a second showing on the clock and giving his team the lead at 85-84.


Williams was later fouled and he closed out the scoring, converting on one-of-two free throws to give Howard its first victory over Norfolk State since 2019.


"There was no doubt about the decision to send him (Hawkins) to the line," said Blakeney. "We look to him to be our general and to come up with big plays."


Since league play, Dockery is shooting nearly 55-percent (12-of-22) from downtown.


“Marcus is an outstanding shooter,” Blakeney stated. “He is just beginning to get the rust off after not playing at Maryland the last couple of years. You can see his confidence growing."


In victories, it is easy to single out the statistical leaders, but this was truly a team victory as five players finished in double figures.


Williams, a one-time starter and now a key reserve coming off the bench, and four-time MEAC Rookie of the Week freshman forward Shy Odom (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) both made significant contributions. 


Williams scored seven of the Bison's last nine points, including the security free throw. The 6-foot-5 D.C. native and transfer from Penn, filled the stat sheet with seven rebounds and five assists to go along with his 18 points.


Odom, who got into foul trouble in Monday’s (Jan. 9) loss at Maryland Eastern Shore and failed to score in double figures for the first time in four games since being inserted into the starting lineup, rebounded nicely and tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 22 minutes.


"Shy continues to show that he is special," said Blakeney on the leading candidate for MEAC Rookie of the Year. "He was in bed most of the week; yet he came out today and helped contribute to this win."


Also making an important contribution was redshirt junior forward Steve Settle, III (Glenarden, Md.), who finished with 14 points and a career-high five steals in the victory.


The Spartans, who have played three ranked opponents (UCLA, Baylor and Houston) were led by Bryant with 23 points, graduate Kris Bankson (16 points & seven rebounds), redshirt junior guard Caheim Brown (19 points) and junior forward Dana Tate with 14 points off the bench.


Howard has a short turnaround as it hosts Morehouse College Monday (Jan. 14) in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day Classic in Burr Gymnasium at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on FS1.




The Howard University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 21 NCAA Division I men and women varsity sports. The programs represent three conferences: the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Northeast Conference (NEC) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).


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