Howard (2-2) was down 47-30 with 16:24 left, but pulled ahead with an 18-5 run over the final 5:10. The Bison took their first lead, 60-59, on Randy Hampton's inside basket with about three minutes left.
Rodney Green scored 17 points and Yves Mekongo Mbala had 10 rebounds for La Salle (1-2). The Explorers went nearly six minutes without a field goal at the end, allowing Howard to hold on despite missing five of its 12 free throws in the final two minutes.
La Salle committed 18 turnovers to Howard's eight.