By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
Kenny Blakeney’s first year at Howard may not have netted as many wins as he hoped for, but his team continues to fight. At the start of the final regular season road trip to North Carolina, the Bison had the chance to pull off the biggest upset of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference season.
But as the case has been all season, it fell just short.
Howard lost a 70-67 heartbreaker to NC A&T after digging themselves out of a hole in what could be considered the toughest basketball environment in the MEAC. Despite the loss the day was still historic as senior guard C.J. Williams became the conference’s all-time leading scorer despite only scoring 10 points, eight points below his 18.4 point average for the season.
The Aggies, who led the conference and were prohibitively favored, went for the kill early. After opening the game on a 10-3 run, A&T took control of the game after building a 28-14 lead with 8:12 left before halftime. But HU reached deep into their bag of grit and determination to grab the momentum with a 19-4 run to end the half and took a 35-32 lead into the break.
As Williams struggled the Bison were lifted by Zion Cousins and freshman Wayne Bristol, Jr. who continue to make a bid for MEAC Freshman of the Year. Bristol, who is from Upper Marlboro, MD, led them with 26 points and seven rebounds. Cousins added 12 points and five boards before fouling out.
The Aggies went on an 11-2 run and led 43-38 with 16:38 left in regulation. Bristol Jr. hit a three pointer to give Howard a 47-45 lead with 12:04 remaining. A&T extended the lead to six when Howard began their run and regained the advantage on a 47-45 lead with 12:04 remaining.
Down the stretch the lead changed seven times when the Aggies made their decisive run knocked down a shot from the top of the key to take a 67-65 lead. A&T closed the final seconds on a 4-1 run to seal the victory.
Lady Bison Stopped By Aggies
Senior guard Ayonna Williams fought through foul trouble all game to give Howard a chance to steal a pelt on the road in Greensboro. Williams led the Lady Bison with 15 points but couldn’t make up for the loss of her backcourt teammate Sarah Edmond as they fell 60-55 on Senior Day inside the Corbett Sports Center.
The loss kept A&T three games ahead of Howard in the conference standings. With two games left in their regular season, the Lady Bison have been eliminated from getting an opening round in the MEAC Tournament.
NCA&T’s Cinia McCray led all scorers with a game-high 16 points to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. The Aggies used a third quarter spurt to pull ahead and held on to escape with the victory
Williams, a D.C. native, sparked a 10-0 run and cut the deficit to 47-52 in the fourth quarter. However, she committed her fifth foul with less than four minutes remaining. She finished her afternoon leading the team in scoring while playing only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.