By Mark F. Gray,
Special to the AFRO

Two milestones featuring a pair of walk off game winning shots led to victories for Bowie State and Howard as both teams started resembling teams that were expected to be contenders in the CIAA and MEAC.

BSU alumnus and head men’s basketball coach Darrell Brooks became the winningest coach in program history after the Bulldogs 71-68 win at the buzzer against Elizabeth City State. Brooks sealed his 200th career win as senior Justin Route hit a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer for the win.

“200 wins, wow – when I took the job here 12 years ago that never crossed my mind, but I got here with great players, great coaches and the grace of God,” said Brooks. “I am so happy for my guys, I owe a lot to them and the coaches that have been here over the last 12 years. I am happy to get it, but I had a lot of help along the way.”

 Sophomore David McCullough led Bowie State in scoring with 14 points and six rebounds, while both Kobby Ayetey  and sophomore Anthony Carpenter added 13 points. Junior Quinton Drayton and Route added 10 points and six rebounds in the Bulldogs home victory.

 ECSU led by 19 in the second half, but the Bulldogs were relentless in their comeback effort. BSU cut the lead to single digits four times before a three-pointer from Carpenter led to an 8-0 run for BSU.  However, over the last 2:49  another 10-4 run ended with a 3-pointer from Ayetey with 36 seconds left. The Bulldogs forced a turnover and after an offensive rebound before Carpenter found Route in the corner for the last second heroics.

Meanwhile, Howard grad-student Kyle Foster scored a career-high 27 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, to lift the Bison past North Carolina Central 75-74 in overtime. Foster nailed what proved to be the game winner with a corner three-pointer with only two seconds left in the extra period. It was HU’s first win at NCCU’s McDougald-McLendon Arena since December 2015.

Howard’s pulled to within the .500 mark overall and evened their (8-9, 2-2 MEAC) standing, while getting its second win during this critical four-game road swing while ending the NCCU curse that has plagued them on Tobacco Road.

 Foster blistered the nets shooting 10-of-12 from the floor, which included making 5-of-6 on his three point shots.  He also contributed  defensively while recording two steals.

HU led 39-22 at halftime but N.C. Central opened the second half on a 7-0 run, capped by a layup from Randy Miller, Jr., that pulled the Eagles to within 39-29.  

The Bison, who once led by 24 points, saw their lead totally evaporate when NCCU’s Justin Wright scored on a fastbreak layup and put the Eagles ahead 48-47 midway through the final half of regulation. Howard erased a six point deficit over the final five minutes to force the extra period by tying the score at 62.

NCCU held an eight-point advantage after a trey ball by Marque Maultsby, but the Bison had one-last run in extra time. Five time MEAC Rookie of the Week Elijah Hawkins forced several turnovers leading to fastbreak points.

With :18 seconds left in OT, the Eagles lead, but Howard senior Deven Richmond grabbed a loose offensive rebound and found Hawkins who passed off to Foster in the corner for the game winner.

 Redshirt sophomore Steve Settle III  had another solid all around performance finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Hawkins added nine points, seven assists and a career-high seven steals.

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