Early post execution from No. 11 Howard gave the Bison the boost they needed as they stunned No. 3 Morgan State in the MEAC quarterfinals.The win lifts Howard into the semifinals, where the Bison will have another shot at an upset against No. 2 Norfolk State.
Marcel Boyd led Howard with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and fellow post Damon Collins added 14 points and eight rebounds. MEAC Rookie of the Year, Charles Williams rounded out the last Bison in double figures with 14 points.
The tandem of Boyd and Collins proved to be the catalyst for Howard and the thorn in Morgan State’s side. Possession after possession in the first half, both found soft spots in the Bears zone, executing high-low post entries for high percentage buckets.
But Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman made a half time adjustment.
Sticking with its zone defense, the Bears became more active, sending a weakside low defender to cover the high post, forcing Howard to depend on a second scoring option. That led to a defensive battle. Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the second half, as both teams forced each other into contested shots.
In the end, Howard made the key steps and had a response each time Morgan State tried to grab momentum. The Bison advance to play Norfolk State, which won the lone regular season meeting between the teams on Feb. 25 by eight points.
The other MEAC quarterfinal was also close.
Maryland Eastern Shore edged Hampton in a game that came down to the final possession. The Hawks prevailed, advancing to the semifinals with a 68-66 win.
With the game tied at 66, the Hawks’ Logan McIntosh made the go-ahead layup with 12 seconds on the clock. Hampton then grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed three but was unable to convert the game-tying bucket.
The stars were on display, as Tyler Jones poured in 23 points on nine-of-14 shooting for the Hawks. All-MEAC first-teamer Bakari Copeland finished with 17 points.
Freshmen standout Jermaine Marrow led the Pirates with 19 points.
No. 5 Maryland Eastern Shore will play No. 1 NC Central Friday at 6 PM ET in the first MEAC semifinal. The Eagles swept the season series, winning both games by double digits.