The Bison (5-18, 2-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) trailed throughout the first half and didn't take the lead until a 3-pointer with 6:19 left by Tre Lee, his only basket of the game, made it 42-39.
After trailing 37-30, Howard scored 20 of the next 23 points, including eight by Phillips. The Bulldogs (4-17, 0-8), who have lost 14 in a row, shot 18.5 percent (5 of 27) in the second half. Their last win over a conference opponent came in the 2011 MEAC tournament against Delaware State.
Okoroh had 10 rebounds and Phillips nine for Howard, and Lee had seven assists.
Darryl Palmer scored 11 points for South Carolina State.