The Washington Times - November 17, 2008, 01:44PM

Howard coach Gil Jackson hypothesized as he talked with his wife the other day on the vagaries of college basketball.

The Bison were coming off a defeat of Oregon State, a wholly unexpected result from the outside despite how dreadful the Beavers are.

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Now, he was off to play Navy – a team of a lower profile – and on the Midshipmen’s floor.

“My theory is the toughest game to win is the one that’s equal, not [uneven],” Jackson said. “There’s no pressure on those games. I played those games [as an assistant] at Penn. Penn-Villanova, there was no pressure on us. The Penn-Brown game, there’s pressure. Or the Penn-Princeton game. This was an equal-type game. There’s pressure. When we go up to play St. John’s, there’s no pressure on us. The American game? There’s pressure.”

The pressure didn’t help the Bison on Sunday, that’s for sure.

Howard lost 66-55 at Navy, yielding a 17-1 run to close out the game. After building a lead as large as six points in the second half, Howard scuffled in the final 10 minutes and missed out on their first November victory in a true road game since 2004.

“Winning on the road is something you have to be able to do in Division I,” Jackson said. “I told them we had an early opportunity to get that out of the way and we didn’t. Now we go back home and we have a tough game against American. We have to see if we can defend our court.”

There will be far more opportunities to do damage away from home. Howard still has trips to St. John’s, Oregon State, Portland, Utah State and La Salle before conference play begins in earnest in January.

Perhaps Sunday – despite the late fade – will help Howard out then.

“This was one on the road that we couldn’t get done,” Jackson said. “It was a team on our level in their gym, and we couldn’t get it done.”

Patrick Stevens