The Howard Bison nearly blew a late lead against a scrappy University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks team, but held on long enough to snap a nine-game losing streak and earn their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) win of the season with a 77-73 victory on Jan. 29 at Burr Gymnasium.

Howard held a nine-point lead with less than four minutes remaining in the game, before a few turnovers and a pair of Hawks’ three pointers helped tie the game 73-73 with 21 seconds remaining.

Howard senior guard Kyle Riley then raced down the court for a layup to put Howard up 75-73. His teammate, sophomore guard Anton Dickerson, then corralled a loose ball and jetted down court for an easy layup of his own with 0.9 seconds left. Eastern Shore tried to foul Dickerson as time ticked away but a questionable no-call sent coach Frankie Allen into a tirade. Dickerson was clearly grabbed during the sequence, but no foul was called.

Riley led Howard with 22 points, but it was freshman center Alphonso Leary who might have been the game’s MVP . Leary’s low post scoring in the second half helped Howard build a sizeable lead as the 6-foot, 10-inch freshman put on a footwork exhibition for the home crowd.

Junior guard and Oxon Hill, Md. native Hillary Haley led Eastern Shore with 29 points, but his big day wasn’t enough to hold down a motivated Howard club.

Howard (3-17, 1-7) will host Delaware State University on Jan. 31. University of Maryland Eastern Shore (4-16, 1-6) will travel to play Hampton University on Jan. 31.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO