The Howard men’s basketball team was officially eliminated from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament after a 96-68 loss to the No. 1 seed, Kansas Jayhawks.
Howard kept it close for a while in the first half, but the turnovers swung the game back in the Jayhawks’ favor. The Bison struggled heavily in that category, and their 18 against Kansas was the detriment of their team once again.
Howard led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in 3-point percentage but wasn’t able to have that same production against Kansas. Their 3-point shooting percentage was a respectful 31.3 percent, but those shots were mostly at the hands of sophomore guard Marcus Dockery, and redshirt junior forward Steve Settle. Outside of them, the team totaled three 3-pointers the entire game.
Jordan Wood was one of the most efficient 3-point shooting forwards in the MEAC. However, in his last four games, he totaled just 15 points on 3 of 17 over that span. He went 0 of 4 from the arc against Kansas, logging just two points in 25 minutes.
However, even for the way the season ended, it was one to be remembered for Howard University. It was the team’s first tournament appearance since 1992 after winning the MEAC Tournament. Howard’s winning season secured their first consecutive winning record since 1988. Freshman forward Shy Odom was named MEAC Rookie of the Year after an electric season. His team-leading 15 points in the NCAA Tournament game was a further sign of progress and development.
After the loss, Vice President Kamala Harris gave a postgame speech expressing her pride for the Bison after the historic season. “You made all us Bison so proud,” Harris said.
Moments like this show how much recognition the team has received over the past couple of seasons. Coach Kenneth Blakeney has transformed the team into a competitive unit that is recognized on a national level. With the recent success of other Howard sports, coach Blakeney is among those changing the narrative around the school’s athletics.