The Bobcats (5-1) are off to their best start since winning six of their first seven games in 1997-98. Their five-game winning streak is their longest since 2003-04.
Montana State built a 20-10 lead with 12:32 left in the first half and never let the Dons (2-2) get closer than six thereafter. Howard had 14 points before the intermission and surpassed the 1,000-point mark in his career.
Michael Williams and Perris Blackwell each had 17 points for San Francisco. Dons leading scorer Angelo Caloiaro was saddled with two early fouls and finished with four points in 27 minutes. Caloiaro was averaging 17.7 points a game and was coming off a 26-point effort in an 83-81 overtime victory over Colorado.