Norfolk State gets comeback win over Howard foe Robert Jones’ 200th victory

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Courtesy of Alex Lehmbeck, Assoc. SID, Norfolk State Athletics

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Winner Norf

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Norf26 39 65
HOW34 27 61

Norfolk State junior Jamarii Thomas buried a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds of the Spartans’ matchup at Howard on Saturday, completing a 15-point second-half comeback by the road team. NSU defeated the Bison 65-61 at Burr Gymnasium, collecting head coach Robert Jones‘ 200th career victory in the process.

Jamarii Thomas and Allen Betrand led Norfolk State (12-8, 2-1 MEAC) with 14 points each, both shooting 5-of-11 from the field and both recording four rebounds as well. Christian Ings also scored in double figures.

The historic milestone came in a familiar location for Jones, who earned his 100thcareer victory in a 24-point comeback effort against Howard at Burr Gymnasium on Feb. 2, 2019.

“For a guy that never really dreamed of coaching basketball growing up, to get 200 wins is amazing,” Jones said. “It’s a testament to everybody here, especially my staff. I thank Marty Miller all the time for giving me the opportunity, and of course AD Melody Webb and Dr. Javauane Adams-Gaston from there. Thank you.”

Howard got on the board first, producing a steal for a fast break slam at the other end. Daryl Anderson responded right back, knocking down a 3-pointer for a quick lead change.

The Bison took advantage of several Norfolk State turnovers, taking a 12-5 lead within a few minutes of the opening tip. An inside score from Jaylani Darden, followed by Betrand’s 3-pointer soon after, helped the Spartans cut the deficit to three.

Howard’s Bryce Harris registered a dunk and corner 3-pointer to get the Bison crowd on its feet, but Thomas knocked down a mid-range jumper to get the Spartans back in rhythm.

Christian Ings came alive late in the first half after the Bison hovered around a double-figure lead. The graduate guard knocked down a crucial 3-pointer to half a Howard run, before ending the half with a steal and thunderous dunk in the closing seconds.

Harris continued to give the Spartans trouble in the second half, adding another 3-pointer and dunk to push Howard ahead 41-26. Darden followed up a miss for a successful tip-in before Ings earned a trip to the free throw line for two more points soon after.

The Spartans took advantage of the open window. Darden knocked down a much-needed 3-pointer, before Tyrel Bladen contributed another second-chance score, cutting the deficit to six with the Spartans on a 9-0 run.

Howard came up with a pair of timely shots to briefly regain control, but Chris Fields Jr. and Allen Betrand answered with back-to-back 3-pointers. Howard called timeout but it didn’t slow down the Spartans, as Bertrand produced a steal-and-dunk right away to get NSU within one possession.

But as the Spartans chipped away, Howard frequently knocked down 3-pointers to move Norfolk State a few steps back. The Bison eventually regained a double-digit lead.

The Spartans kept fighting. Trailing by nine with under five minutes remaining, Betrand earned an old-fashion three-point play. Thomas converted two shots from the foul line soon after, before finding Bladen for an open layup.

The score suddenly brought the Spartans within two, but Howard’s Seth Towns gathered an offensive rebound for a two-handed dunk to give the Bison some breathing room.

Desperately needing someone to make a play, the Spartans turned to their top scorer. Thomas pulled up from the top of the key, sinking the 3-pointer to bring Norfolk State within one.

After Howard scored at the other end, Chris Fields Jr. put back a Spartan miss for another crucial score. He made a free throw to tie things up on the team’s next offensive possession.

Norfolk State forced a Bison turnover, giving the Spartans a chance to take the lead with under 30 seconds remaining. Thomas stepped up to the moment, draining a 3-pointer with confidence to give NSU its first lead since the game’s first minute.

Howard couldn’t answer at the other end, missing a contested shot. Ings sealed the game with a free throw moments later, as the Spartans closed out Jones’ milestone victory in thrilling fashion.

Checking The Box Score

  • Jamarii Thomas and Allen Betrandled the Spartans with 14 points each
  • Christian Ings added 11 points
  • Norfolk State erased a 15-point second-half deficit on Saturday
  • Howard forward Bryce Harris led the Bison with 21 points and 11 rebounds
  • Norfolk State’s bench outscored Howard’s 48-7
  • Chris Fields Jr. contributed six points, five rebounds, and four steals off the bench
  • NSU forced Howard to commit 19 turnovers, amassing 12 steals

News & Notes

  • Norfolk State improved to 12-8 with the win, 2-1 in MEAC play
  • Howard dropped to 8-12 on the season, 2-2 in conference action
  • The win marked the 200th victory of Norfolk State head coach Robert Jones‘ career
  • The milestone came in the same venue where Jones recorded his 100th career win, erasing a 22-point deficit to defeat the Bison 80-78 on Feb. 2, 2019
  • Jamarii Thomas knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with under 30 seconds remaining in Saturday’s contest, giving NSU its first lead since the game’s opening minute
  • Norfolk State now leads the all-time series between the programs 51-14, snapping a three-game losing streak against the Bison


Norfolk State has a week to rest and prepare for its next matchup, facing Coppin State at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Echols Hall. The showdown against the Eagles marks the first leg of a three-game homestand for the Spartans.

Next Game:
Coppin State
1/27/2024 | 4 p.m.

Team Statistics

Game StatsNorfHOW

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