It has been a long time coming but the drought is over for the Howard University men’s basketball team. The Bison won a thrilling 65-64 game over two-time defending champion Norfolk State for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship on Saturday at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
As a result, Howard received the NCAA automatic bid and will take on the No. 1 seed, Kansas on March 16 in Des Moine, Iowa, at noon.
The Bison (22-12) showed its mettle, overcoming a four-point deficit in less than 15 seconds to come away with a hard-fought victory that was one of the most exciting in recent history.
“We played [Bryant] to zig-zag, but it was like he zigged, but did not zag,” said an emotional Howard head coach Kenneth Blakeney.
Following the timeout, Bison graduate guard Jelani Williams (Washington, D.C.) went to work, driving to the basket and getting fouled in the process, sending him to the foul line with 6.5 seconds on the clock. The graduate from the University Penn in his first year with the Bison, calmly sank both free throws to give Howard the lead at 65-64.
“You all may laugh at this,” gestured Williams, who came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points. “It all started with my father when I was young. He talked to me about how important it was to learn how to shoot and make free throws under all kinds of circumstances. So he used to sing lullabies to me. When I go to the line, I blocked out everything and sang that lullaby to myself.”