A 21-1 scoring run with just four minutes left in regulation lifted Howard to a 68-64 win over Eastern Utah in Friday night's second semifinal game at the Hutchinson Sports Arena. Howard led 33-30 at the half, but it was Eastern Utah that controlled the game with a tough 2-3 zone defense and consistent shooting as the Golden Eagles shot 52 percent from the field.
However, a full court press put on by the Hawks in the last five minutes of the game led to several turnovers and missed free throws by CEU. Down by one with 55 seconds left when Josh Watkins intercepted a pass and took it in for a lay-up, was fouled and made a free throw to give Howard a 66-64 lead with 43 seconds left. CEU's had a tough time getting off a shot in their next possession and Watkins came up with a big blocked shot and then scored another lay-up to make the score 68-64.
Michael Glover led the Eagles with 21 points, while Isiah Williams recorded 11 points.
Howard advances to the national title game for the first time in school history. The Hawks will face Three Rivers (Popular Bluff, Mo.) tomorrow at 8 p.m. Howard is the fourth team in as many years from Region 5 to advance to the championship game. The Eagles will now take on Navarro tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the Third Place game.