Howard scored the first six points in overtime for Detroit (11-12, 4-4 Horizon) and the Titans made 9 of 10 free throws in the last 1:11 to hang on.
Youngstown State (10-14, 1-8) erased a 12-point halftime deficit, eventually tying the game at 53 with 9:43 left on Bobby Hain's three-point play. After some back-and-forth down the stretch, Osandai Vaughn's 3-pointer with 58 seconds left forced overtime.
Howard was 7 of 19 from the floor with seven boards. Freshman Paris Bass had 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds while Anton Wilson added 17 points and seven assists.
Marcus Keene led Youngstown State with 24 points, including a career-high tying six 3-pointers. DJ Cole had 15 points while Shawn Amiker added 13. Vaughn and Hain both finished with 12 points.