When Michael Holmes spoke before the season of improvement by his Morgan State basketball team, this wasn't quite what he had in mind.
Although the Bears finished 7-22 in Holmes' first season, he felt ,, he saw signs of a revival for this season. He brought in no fewer than nine freshman last fall.
"Our players just have to learn how to win," Holmes said. "We're young and inexperienced, but I believe if you work hard, good things are always going to happen."
Morgan may still be working hard, but not many good things are happening.
One good thing did happen last night, however. The Bears' 92-85 win over Bethune-Cookman at Hill Field House broke their losing streak at six.
Still, Morgan's record is 3-19, including 3-8 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
"We won, but we made so many mistakes," Holmes said. "You can't make this many at the level where we plaly.
"I'm talking about poor passing and errors in organization when we attack the basket."
This was a battle of two have-nots in the MEAC. Bethune-Cookman and Morgan share the cellar with Maryland Eastern Shore.
The Bears hadn't won since beating Bethune-Cookman by 24 points in Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 18. Their only other win this season was against South Carolina State Jan. 4.
Obadiah Johnson paced Morgan with 25 points, followed by Jarrad Smith with 18 and Matt Burrell with 14. Reggie Cunningham scored 33 for Bethune-Cookman.
"Johnson was decent, especially considering he was exhausted from the previous game," Holmes said. "He was slow finding his rhythm but when he did he was fine.
In the first half, the score was tied five times, but Morgan seemed to be taking command in the final minutes, going ahead, 38-31.
Bethune-Cookman then ran off 10 quick points, six of them by Cunningham, the MEAC's leading scorer (26.0 ppg). Bethune-Cookman led at halftime, 41-40.
For those 20 minutes, Cunningham and Johnson carried the load for their respective teams. Cunningham had 16 points, Johnson, 12. No other players were in double figures. The Bears shot 32.5 percent to Bethune-Cookman's 43.8.
Morgan will entertain Delaware State, a member of the MEAC's first division, tomorrow night.