The 18th ranked Georgetown Hoyas (8-1) had a week off before a game against the Howard Bison (3-6, 1-1) and it showed as the Hoyas struggled to a 62-48 victory.

Georgetown started the game on a 17-0 run, but that wasn’t enough to deter Howard as it slowly clawed its way back into the game to close the lead to 13 by halftime.

“It’s been that way all year for us,” said Howard head coach Kevin Nickelberry.

“We’ve been able to compete in every game. We have seven freshmen and a lot of them play a lot of minutes for us. We’ve done a good job of dealing with adversity all year.”

In the second half the Bison really roared back into the game. Howard began the half on a 23-12 run to cut Georgetown’s lead to two points.

Georgetown head coach John Thompson III didn’t want to make excuses for his team’s play. He said it was plain and simple: Howard outplayed Georgetown.

“, as all good teams always have, play hard, compete, don’t look and they did that tonight,” Thompson said. “They just scratched and clawed and got back into the game.”

That’s when Hoyas coach John Thompson III made a strategy change to apply full-court pressure to the Bison, a maneuver that caught Howard off guard.

“It’s good coaching. John did a great job and went full court pressing,” Nickelberry said. “We hadn’t seen that on tape yet. It’s been a 1-2-2 most of the year, so we hadn’t really worked on that.

“By the time we adjusted it was too late,” he continued.

The pressure helped the Hoyas finish the game on a 20-8 run.

Still, the Bison left a good impression in the minds of many. Howard junior guard Calvin Thompson said that’s due to the change in the mindset of the players on this year’s roster.

“We’re definitely tougher,” Thompson said. I’ve been here for three years now.

Coach brought in some players who want to win. Before we just had people who wanted to get a scholarship and graduate. Now we actually have basketball players and I give that up to coach.”

The Hoyas were led in scoring by freshman forward Otto Porter who finished with 13 points and 4 rebounds. The Bison were led by junior forward Mike Phillips who had 14 points and 5 boards.

Key Players: Joining Porter in double figures for the Hoyas’ were junior forward Hollis Thompson and senior guard Jason Clark. Both finished with 12 points. Junior forward Dadrian Collins was the only other Bison in double figures with 11.

Next Up: Georgetown returns to action on Dec. 17 at home against American University while Howard hosts St. Francis (N.Y.) on Dec. 12.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO