Howard used its depth, balanced scoring and one of its best defensive efforts of the season into a convincing 88-56 win over Morgan State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference showdown before a packed house at Burr Gymnasium.
With the win, the Bison (11-10, 3-1 MEAC) now have a share of first place in the MEAC standings, along with Norfolk State, Morgan State, North Carolina Central and Maryland Eastern Shore.
Howard jumped out to the early 30-18 lead during the first 12 minutes and never looked back. Using liberal substitutions, the Bison kept the Bears off balance by using 11 players.
With redshirt junior forward Jordan Wood (San Antonio), senior forward Kobe Dickson and freshman forward Shy Odom getting up and down the floor in Howard’s transition game, it allowed for the conductor, second-year Bison guard Elijah Hawkins, to find them for open looks.
The D.C. native rewarded them and it resulted in long-range bombs and easy looks after some deft passes found them open.
As a result, Howard shot 57 percent (16-of-28), including 5-of-10 from three-point range.
The high-scoring Bears got most of their offense from senior guard Isaiah Burke, who tallied 16 of his 21 points in the first 20 minutes but without their second-leading scorer Malik Miller, who went out with an injury early in the first half and did not return, Morgan State (10-9, 3-1 MEAC) trailed, 41-32.
Then, the depth began to take full effect as the Bison went on a 12-0 run during a three-minute stretch to essentially put the game away.
Wood led four players in double figures, followed by Dickson (13 points off the bench), sophomore guard Marcus Dockery (Washington) with 11 points and redshirt junior forward Steve Settle, III with 10 points in the win.
Hawkins, who scored seven points, dealt out a career-high 13 assists.
In all, the Bison had 12 players score while holding the Bears to 37 percent shooting (22-of-59) from the floor and 18 percent (3-of-16) from beyond the arc.
The Bears were led by Burke with a game-high 21 points and Daiquan Copeland tallied 10 points off the bench.