Coming off its worst loss of the season, the Tribe looked to rebound at home against Howard, and that was exactly what they did in their 76-62 win Wednesday night.
“We were disappointed in our play Sunday and our guys came back and really responded with a good performance tonight,” Head Coach Tony Shaver said.
In a game that the College never trailed, the squad found success in three point shooting –knocking down nine of 19 attempts – and rebounding in the paint.
“I thought our key to success was our rebounding. They really attacked on the glass and we did a good job on the boards,” Shaver said. “We also got great balanced play from a lot of guys.”
The College’s effort was aided by 25 points from the bench, as compared to Howard’s zero points coming from their substitutes.
But it was junior Quinn McDowell that led the charge for the Tribe by tallying 24 points. McDowell was a perfect four for four from three-point land and eight for eight from the free throw line, eight rebounds, and four assists.
“Quinn McDowell was sensational tonight,” Shaver said.
Heading into the game, the Bisons were riding five game losing streak, but the Tribe knew that it could not let that affect its play.
“We knew we had to come out hard since on any given day anyone can beat anyone,” freshman forwardTim Rusthoven said.
To begin the game, the College’s offense was hindered by the Bison’s 1-3-1 zone that accounted for eight first half steals for Howard. But the Tribe’s defense was equally impressive, holding the Bisons to 24 percent shooting from the field.
“They don’t play a normal zone so we just had to recognize where the gaps and where the open were. Once we did that we started to hit our shots,” Rusthoven said.
The game was close until the Tribe broke off a 14-2 run to end the first half that was punctuated by two McDowell free throws following technical foul charged to Howard Head Coach Kevin Nickelberry.
During an injury timeout with 34 seconds remaining in the half, Nickelberry was insistent that the referees had missed a foul against the Tribe. After the situation seemed to have diffused, Nickelberry walked back to the Howard bench to address his team. But moments later, he slammed his clipboard against the floor, instantly earning him the technical foul.
With the two McDowell free throws, the College took momentum and a 35-22 lead into the locker room.
Coming out of the break, the College looked to extend its lead.
But when senior Marcus Kitts, who finished with 10 points, was benched after picking up his third personal foul with only a minute into the second half, the Howard offense looked to force the ball inside in the forward’s absence. But the College’s bench, including Rusthoven, held their ground, limiting the Bison frontcourt to 24 percent shooting in the second half.
Rusthoven also contributed on the offense end as well, notching 10 points on top of seven rebounds.
“Our freshmen played great tonight and it was good to see them get some confidence,” McDowell said.
The College sealed the game when freshmen guard Brandon Britt knocked down back-to-back three pointers with 11 minutes remaining in the game to push Tribe’s lead to 19 points.
Three minutes later, Britt found Kitts on consecutive possessions for a pair of baseline dunks that electrified the home crowd. And then two possessions later, a Britt steal ended up in McDowell’s hands in the right corner. With no defender in sight, the forward sank the fast break three pointer, extending the College lead to 66-44 and silenced any hope of a Bison comeback.
From that point on, the College cruised to the 76-62 victory.
“We’ll have to keep working hard everyday to fix the areas of our game that we’re not doing well in, but hopefully we will build on this win,” McDowell said.