Howard stuns Norfolk State in 80-74 comeback win to reach second straight MEAC final

title image via David Sierra

Courtesy of MEAC Media Relations

Howard Logo


Winner HOW

Norfolk St. Logo



HOW31 49 80
Norf37 37 74

NORFOLK, VA – Marcus Dockery led five Howard players in double figures with 19 points to lift the Bison to an 80-74 come-from-behind upset win over top-seeded Norfolk State Friday in semifinal action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tournament at the Norfolk Scope.

Bryce Harris added 16 points, Isiah Warfield 15, Seth Towns 13 and Jordan Hairston 10 in the win that earned the fourth-seeded Bison a trip to Saturday’s 1 p.m. finals. Howard will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal contest between second-seeded North Carolina Central and sixth-seeded Delaware State, a 71-58 upset winner over third-seeded South Carolina State in Thursday’s quarterfinals. 

Towns also added a game-high nine rebounds in the victory that lifted the Bison to 17-16 on the season.

Norfolk State, the MEAC regular-season champion, was led by 2024 MEAC Player of the Year, Jamari Thomas, with 14 points, four assists and four steals. Christian Ings added 11 points and five assists in the loss for the Spartans who finished the season at 22-11.

Howard trailed 37-31 after the first half, which featured seven lead changes and one deadlock before No. 1 Norfolk State took a seven-point cushion to the locker room. The Bison were still down by seven, 48-41, when Nyzaiah Chambers got a dunk with 14:31 to play.

Howard then went on a 12-4 run to grab their first lead, 53-52, since early in the contest with 8:36 on the clock. Warfield nailed a 3-pointer and Towns added three free throws before fouling out. Hairston contributed a 3-pointer and Dockery follow with another long ball to complete the rally.

Betrand scored on a runner to give the Spartans a 54-53 edge with 8:11 left on the clock, but Warfield answered with an inside basket and a 55-54 Bison lead with 7:53 showing. The lead changed hands twice before Jack Doumbia pulled the Spartans into a 59-all tie at the 6:07 mark.

The contest was tied once more, 61-61, before Howard put together a 10-1 run to build a 71-62 advantage with just 1:57 to play. Both Dockery and Warfield had 3-pointers during the spree. The closest Norfolk came after that was the final margin.

The Bison, who fell to Norfolk State twice during the regular season – 65-61 at Washington, DC and 77-58 in Norfolk, found the third time the charm. Howard enjoyed a big edge on the boards, 30-19. Coach Kenneth Blakeney‘s team also shot the ball well, connecting on 23-43 (53.5 pct.) from the field, 11-21 from three-point range (52.4 pct.) and 23-27 (85.2 pct.) from the line.

“It’s hard competing against Norfolk State because they are the best-prepared team in the league,” Blakeney said. “When we got down at the half, I thought if we continued to play hard and continue shooting well, we could get back in the game.
“And, we ended up shooting over .50 percent from the field as well as from three-point range, and we hit over .80 percent from the free throw line. “I think that’s pretty good.”

Howard will be seeking its second consecutive MEAC tournament title.

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