WASHINGTON, D.C. — Charles Williams had himself a stellar freshman campaign in 2016-17 for the Howard Bison, and he hasn’t slowed down in year two.
Add in the play of freshman RJ Cole in 2017-18, and the Bison have arguably the best young tandem in the MEAC, and one that could rival the top pairs from other conferences around the country. When Howard welcomed the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks to town on Monday night, the pair were at their best as the Bison looked for the regular season series sweep of the Hawks.
Back in January, the Bison picked up an 85-75 win over the Hawks in Princess Anne, MD, behind 28 points from Cole.
On Monday, it was the same result for Howard, but by a much larger margin. The Bison used three big runs in the first half to take a 44-16 at the break, and they would go onto win by that same margin of 28 points. Howard cruised to the 84-56 win over Eastern Shore to complete the regular season sweep.
This time around, it was Williams who would lead the way for the Bison. He scored a game-high 28 points to match Cole’s output from the first meeting between the two programs. Cole added 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two steals on Monday night in the win. Dalique Mingo rounded out a trio of Bison starters in double figures, posting 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Forward Jalen Jones recorded a double-double in 34 minutes off the bench, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman forward Miryne Thomas continued his strong play down the stretch this season, posting another double-double in a losing effort. He recorded 18 points and 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action before picking up his fifth foul. It marks Thomas’ fourth double-double over his last five games.
Tyler Jones added 15 points, while Colen Gaynor chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds. As a team, the Hawks were just 2-of-23 (8.7%) from three point range on the night.
Jones scored the first basket of the game to give the Hawks a brief 2-0 lead. The Bison responded with a 9-2 run to take the lead for good. Later in the first half, they went on a 15-3 run, one in which Williams scored eight of his 28 points for Howard.
Then, to close out the half, they went on a 23-3 run. Cole hit a three pointer on both ends of the run, while J. Jones scored eight points of his own. Mingo hit a three to close out the half, sending the Bison into the break with a 44-16 lead.
Both teams scored 40 points in the second half, but the Hawks weren’t able to get any closer than 13 points in the frame. Eastern Shore made just seven field goals in the first half, and shot just 27.5% (19-of-69) from the floor in the loss.
The loss was the second straight for Maryland-Eastern Shore (6-21, 2-10), who have now lost nine of their last 10 outings overall. The Hawks will look for some sort of positive on Saturday as they continue their four game road trip against the North Carolina Central Eagles.
With the win, Howard (8-19, 5-6) ended their two game slide and have now won five of their last seven games. The Bison return to the court on Saturday afternoon, where they will travel to face the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
– T. Bennett