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Go-ahead free throws in final seconds help Howard defeat NSU, 86-84

Bryant's finish through contact in the final moments gave the Spartans the edge briefly, before two technical free throws and one more trip to the line for Howard.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk State's 19-game home win streak came to an end on Saturday night at Echols Hall, falling 86-84 to Howard on three free throws in the final two seconds of regulation.

Norfolk State's Joe Bryant Jr. used the glass gracefully for an acrobatic go-ahead basket in with 1.4 seconds left to play, but an ensuing technical foul on the Spartans' bench sent Howard to the line for the tying and winning free throws.

Bryant led the Spartans with 23 points on Saturday, going a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line. He also added four rebounds, two steals, and two assists for an all-around standout performance.

Two more Spartans scored in double figures against the Bison: Cahiem Brown (19) and Kris Bankston (16). The pair both showcased immense efficiency, as Brown shot 7-of-10 from the field and Bankston went 7-of-9.

Norfolk State started the game with pace, jumping out to an 11-2 lead. The opening stretch featured plenty of highlight plays, including two dunks by Bankston, a two-handed slam by Nyzaiah Chambers, and a pull-up 3-pointer by Bryant.

Daryl Anderson added a deep spot-up three to push NSU ahead 19-11, before Brown and Dana Tate Jr. knocked down two more soon after. The Spartans hit six 3-pointers in the first half, finishing the game 8-of-21 from behind the arc.

A 16-4 Bison run cut the Spartans' lead to three late in the first half, but George Beale helped provide a spark off the bench and give NSU a nine-point advantage at the half.

Bankston started the second period with an emphatic dunk. Norfolk State's lead reached as high as 14 in the half, but Howard responded with multiple scores in the paint to slowly chip away at the deficit.

A Marcus Dockery 3-pointer cut the gap to three, before Elijah Hawkins tied things up with a pair of free throws a few minutes later. Dockery, who hit another long ball moments soon after to give Howard its first lead of the night, finished with a game-high 24 points.

Howard got a layup to fall with a foul with 10 seconds remaining, sinking the ensuing free throw for a one-point lead. Bryant's finish through contact in the final moments gave the Spartans the edge briefly, before two technical free throws and one more trip to the line with under a second remaining gave Howard the final lead of the game.

Norfolk State's home winning streak ended at 19 games, the longest in the program's Division I history. Going into Saturday, it was sixth-longest active home win streak in the nation.

NSU heads to Baltimore, Md. next weekend for a pair of matchups against Coppin State and Morgan State on Jan. 21 and Jan. 23, respectively.

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