The Howard men’s basketball team competed in their second and last scrimmage versus American University on Oct. 31 before their regular season opener against Hampton University.
Before the game commenced, the team honored the late Blake Bozeman, a former Morgan State University basketball player who was killed in a shooting in Northeast Washington.
The Bison would play in Bozeman’s memory to raise awareness about gun violence.
The game opened up with Dom Campbell, forward on the Howard men’s basketball team, scoring the first two buckets. With Campbell being a new addition and not playing in the first scrimmage, it was important that he got off to a quick start.
The game was back and forth throughout the first 10 minutes, as the team showed its potential on defense throughout the first half.
Kenneth Blakeney, head coach of the Howard men’s basketball team, spoke on their team defense being one of the bright spots he’s seen after the first two scrimmages while turnovers plague their offense.
“I’ve seen pretty good team defense. When I say that, I think playing against our set half-court defense is very challenging. One of the things that we talked about after and during the game is that our offense can affect our defense, and that game it did a little bit, because we had 21 turnovers,” Blakeney said. “A lot of those turnovers were loose ball turnovers, which allowed them [American University] opportunities to get out in transition and have advantages numbers-wise against our defense.”
The same battle would rage on throughout the second half due to the team letting American University win on the offensive boards through the early part of the half. This continued until defensive stops and a late offensive surge by Bison guard Marcus Dockery helped push the lead to 49-48.
A late steal and dunk by Bryce Harris, a guard on the Howard men’s basketball team, solidified the win for the team with the final score being 69-61.
The Bison will now gear up for their rivalry game against Hampton. The matchup is set to take place in Burr Gymnasium on Nov. 6.
This will be the first time that the Bison take on the Pirates at home since 2020, when fans weren’t allowed due to the Covid pandemic. Blakeney knows how big of a deal this game is due to the rich history of both universities.
“It’s neat to start the season off with a rivalry game. The fact that we have to come out of the gates and be our best, because that’s what rivalry games make you do…We know we’re gonna have an amazing crowd, and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to our guys getting out to compete and play to start the 2023-24 season,” Blakeney said.
Copy edited by Daniel Young