View from the Hilltop: Howard grabs first win at MEAC tournament

Bison beat Coppin State as they try to save injury-riddled season

As James Miller watched Coppin State slowly crawl back from an 18-point deficit, the Howard senior guard briefly thought back to the Jan. 16 game between the two teams when the Eagles fought back from being 18 down and won.

“We remembered that game – they celebrated in our building,” Miller said. “We weren’t going to let them come back like that again.”

Miller scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, and Solomon Mangham scored 18 to lead four players in double figures as No. 11 Howard held off sixth-seeded Coppin, 79-73, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) tournament in Norfolk, Virginia. Howard will play No. 3 seed Morgan State on Thursday.

The end of this game was ugly as the two teams combined to shoot 104 free throws. (Howard was 38 of 56 from the line, while Coppin was 28 of 48.)

“It wasn’t pretty, but we were able to keep our composure when we had to,” said Howard coach Kevin Nickelberry.

Before the game, freshman guard Charles Williams was honored as the MEAC Rookie of the Year. During the game, he showed the fans at The Scope exactly why he earned that award as he scored 15 points, including a monster putback dunk in the first half and a clutch 3-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer with 3:07 left after Coppin had pulled within five points.

“That was a huge shot for us,” Miller said of the 3-pointer. “That was a dagger.”

Williams gave the Bison a huge scare early in the second half after he sprained his ankle while landing on the foot of a Coppin State player. He shook off the injury and came back to hit several big baskets for the Bison.

“It was scary at first, but the ankle is fine,” Williams said.

Howard will play Morgan State on Thursday. The Bison beat Morgan, 70-67, on Feb. 13 in a contest that ended a six-game losing streak for the Bison.