By Jasmine Hardy, Howard University News Service
Washington, D.C– The men’s basketball game against North Carolina A&T drew a full crowd to Howard University’s Burr Gymnasium Saturday. The energy in the room was intense, with around one-third of the crowd consisting of North Carolina A&T fans and the rest cheering for the Bison.
As the game kicked off, the Bison were off to a rough start. Howard trailed behind most of the first half, with the Bison being down by 20 at one point. By the end of the first half, the top scorers were RJ Cole with eight points, Chad Lott with six, and Raymond Bethea Jr. with five.
The half-time show was meant to boost the morale of the crowd and it did just that. There was a surprise performance by the Lela Belles dance group consisting of young girls aged 11 and younger performing complicated hip-hop routines. Following the Lela Belles was a special performance by the Bisonettes where several alumni joined them in their final routine.
As per usual, the band, cheerleaders, and Ooh-La-La girls brought the energy with their standard half-time routines as the players shuffled back onto the court completing their warm-up exercises. The second half is when the Bison really came alive, according to head coach Kevin Nickelberry.
“We played with more effort and energy in the second half,” coach Nickelberry told HUBison Athletics. “We created turnovers and scored in transition.”
With some key rebounds and blocks, the Bison cut the lead down to three points with only two minutes left in the game.
In the final minute, the game was tied and the crowd got behind the home team by chanting “defense” over and over when they were defending. The cheers, unfortunately, did not shake the Aggies; they ended up making the shot that would essentially end the game. The crowd was disappointed they didn’t get the win, but still enjoyed the overall game., “It was very interesting. A lot of comebacks and setbacks, but it just didn’t work for them anymore,” freshman Biology major D’nai Thomas said.
The final score was 85-81.