Hot-shooting Morgan State rolls over UMES, 98-76

March 01, 1992|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

After 27 games -- 22 of them losses -- Morgan State is ready. Ready for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament that begins this week.

"To tell you the truth, we've been practicing for the tournament all year," coach Mike Holmes said last night after his Bears throttled UMES, 98-76, in the regular-season finale at Hill Field House.

"That's what you work for. You try to peak right at tournament time."

A year ago, in Holmes' first season as coach, Morgan shocked second seed South Carolina State in its tournament opener. Because of that, Holmes said the Bears "won't be sneaking up on anybody" this season.

Morgan (5-22, 5-11) will face North Carolina A&T in the first round of the MEAC tournament at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. North Carolina A&T swept the season series against the Bears, winning by 31 points here (98-67), but only by 12 in the rematch (107-95).

Last night's game was little more than a scrimmage. Each team was minus its top scorer because of injury. Morgan's Obadiah Johnson missed the game with a knee sprain he suffered last week in practice. He'll play against A&T, however.

UMES (3-24, 2-14) played without Marlin Kimbrew, who suffered a hamstring injury last Tuesday, and the result was devastating. The Hawks dressed only eight players. Kimbrew is questionable for UMES' tournament opener against Bethune-Cookman at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Despite a 26-point effort by guard Simon Edwards, UMES was worn down -- and ultimately out -- by Morgan's deeper bench.

UMES shot only .406 from the floor and had only two field goals in the game's first 14 minutes. Morgan, meanwhile, zeroed in with a season-high .597 shooting performance and had five players in double figures.

Charles Feagin and Phillip Downs led the Bears with 16 points each. Brandon Parker contributed 15, and Jarrad Smith and Terry Sellers scored 12 each.

Smith, Morgan's 6-foot-11, 315-pound freshman center, pulled down 11 rebounds and leaned heavily on UMES all night.

"That was the best game he's played all year," Holmes said. "Tonight, he played with intensity."

Smith's presence inside helped the Bears build a 17-point lead in the first half. When UMES made an early run in the second half, Feagin, a 6-8 forward, dealt the crushing blow. He scored 14 of his 16 after halftime and dunked a missed layup by teammate Kai Smith to push the lead to 25 at one point.

"We're getting there," Holmes said after stopping a three-game losing streak. "I hope we'll be a very entertaining team in the tournament."

The MEAC is forewarned.

UMES -- Jenkins 4-15 4-4 13, Richards 3-4 1-2 7, Caine 5-6 2-4 14, Edwards 9-21, 6-6 26, Moreland 3-10 0-0 7, Harris 4-9 1-2 9, Pringle 0-2 0-0 0, Hudgins 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-69 14-18 76.

MORGAN STATE -- Feagin 7-9 1-1 16, Brewer 4-6 1-2 9, J. Smith 4-7 4-7 12, Downs 7-12 1-3 16, Sellers 4-10 0-0 12, Ellet 1-1 1-2 3, Holmes 1-1 0-0 2, Parker 6-10 1-1 15, K. Smith 4-7 1-2 90, Burrell 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 40-67 10-18 98.

Halftime--Morgan St. 41, UMES 27. 3-point goals--UMES 6-18 (Caine 2-2, Edwards 2-6, Moreland 1-3, Jenkins 1-7), Morgan St. 8-16 (Sellers 4-8, Parker 2-4, Downs 1-1, Feagin 1-2, Brewer 0-1). Rebounds--UMES 40 (Jenkins 6), Morgan St. 36 (J. Smith 11). Assists--UMES 10 (Caine 5), Morgan St. 20 (J. Smith, Downs 4).

Total fouls--UMES 15, Morgan St. 16. A--2,750.

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