Norfolk State remained a half-game out of second place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, rallying in the second half to beat Howard 66-60 on Monday at Burr Arena in Washington.
Howard, which lost for the seventh time in eight games, surprisingly led 32-24 at halftime thanks to a hot hand by reigning the MEAC Rookie of the Week, guard/forward James Daniel. The conference’s leading scorer at 22.0 points a game, Daniel led the Bison with 20 points on the night.
Norfolk State ran off a 20-5 stretch in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half to take a 44-37 lead the Spartans wouldn’t give back.
Norfolk State reserve forward Riley Maye scored 14 points, and forward Anell Alexis contributed 13. Guard Pendarvis Williams finished with 12 points, and forward Kievyn Lila-St. Rose scored 10.
Howard also got double-figure games from center Prince Okoroh and guard James Miller, who contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Norfolk State (16-11, 10-3) won its second game in a row and earned its fourth win in five games. The victory keeps the Spartans just behind Hampton, which beat the Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday to move to 11-4 in MEAC play.
Both teams, however, are chasing North Carolina Central University (21-5, 12-1) in the race for the regular-season MEAC title and the No. 1 seed for the upcoming conference tournament.
If Norfolk State beats Hampton on March 1 and takes care of last-place UMES on March 3, then the Spartans’ regular-season home finale, March 6 against North Carolina Central, would be a winner-take-all game.
Howard (6-22, 4-9) next hits the road March 1 to face Delaware State.
With Monday’s win, Norfolk State extended its dominance over Howard to 40-9 all-time in the series that started in 1967-68. The Spartans have won eight in a row against the Bison and 18 of the last 20. In their first meeting of the season two weeks ago, the Spartans rolled 75-49 win at home, the most lopsided win by Norfolk State since 2009.
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