Howard University men’s basketball team put on a show in front of a nationally televised audience on TNT, scoring 48 points in the second half to take down long-time rival North Carolina A&T, 79-57, in the inaugural Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic at the Prudential Center.
With the win, HU moved to 6-5 overall while earning its first victory against the Aggies since January 2018.
Howard utilized a balanced attack with 11 Bison scoring in the contest, led by graduate guard Kyle Foster. The Virginia native fell just short of a double-double, tallying a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds (career-high) in the victory.
“We always emphasize ball movement and playing for each other,” said Foster during the postgame press conference. “We were stagnate in the first half, but we talked about adjustments during halftime and it showed in the score.”
Howard held a slim one-point halftime advantage, 31-30 until graduate Tai Bibbs spearheaded the Bison’s second-half surge. Bibbs scored nine points within the opening minutes and sparked a 16-4 run for HU, extending the lead to double digits, 47-34.
NCAT cut the margin down to 10 points after a long ball from Harry Morrice, 54-44, but the Bison regained the momentum.
HU shot nearly 59-percent (17-of-29) after intermission, including 67-percent (8-of-12) from downtown, and ballooned the lead as much as 26 to put the game of reach.
Bibbs finished with 13 points while redshirt sophomore Steve Settle, III added 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
“Tonight’s win showed a lot about our team,” said Settle on the team’s performance. “We showed how much we’ve matured and how far we’ve come. Some teams may have crumbled during the big stage, but we have a list of things we must stick to in order to win.”
Freshman guard Elijah Hawkins controlled the tempo, recording a game-high 10 dimes in the win.
For NCAT (4-9), Collin Smith had a team-best 11 points while Morrice chipped in 10 points off the bench.
American actor and producer Michael B. Jordan and tennis superstar Serena Williams were among the many supporters to provide the opportunity for HBCUs to showcase their talents in front of a national audience.
“I would like to thank Michael B. Jordan, Serena Williams, Invesco, William Morris Agency, and all who supported this great event,” said Howard men’s basketball head coach Kenneth Blakeney. “It’s a fantastic event. I love the title ‘Legacy Classic’ and I hope that the legacy can continue for a very long time and we can be a part of it.”
Courtesy: Howard Athletics