With a rare halftime lead last night against a team which it lost to by only two in the closing seconds earlier in the season, Morgan State was optimistic.
However, once again the Golden Bears stumbled in a month that hasn't been kind to them in recent years.
Loyola of Illinois rallied past Morgan State, 74-70, in a non-conference game at Hill Field House.
Since 1989, Morgan (1-6) has won one game in the month of December, a 75-71 victory over Long Island on Dec. 18. The Bears still have one game left in the month, Friday at New Mexico State, thenwill play at George Mason on Sunday.
The Ramblers (3-3) led by 10 with under five minutes left in regulation, before Morgan rallied to within four with 1:41 left. But Loyola converted eight of nine free-throw attempts in the closing moments.
"We just fell apart," said Morgan coach Michael Holmes. "We've had that problem all during the year. We played well against Florida State [90-67 loss on Dec. 20] for the entire game, but tonight, we didn't have any chemistry."
Damion Zellous, who scored 11 in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half when Morgan was only 13-for-35 from the floor and missed several shots in the paint.
Loyola, which plays at Coppin State tomorrow night, had two ... TC go-to men in Kerman Ali (16 in first half) and Elmer Dickinson, who each scored 22 points. But the main threat was Dickerson, who was athorn in Morgan's side recently.
In the teams' first meeting Nov. 27, the 6-foot-5 junior forward hit a pair of free throws with two-tenths of a second remaining in regulation, lifting the Ramblers to a 78-76 victory.
Last night, he scored 20 of his 22 in the second half for Loyola, including eight of nine from the free-throw line.
Morgan had a 47-40 lead early in the second half only to see it disappeared under a 10-1 Loyola run. The spurt was capped by a three-pointer by Dickerson, giving the Ramblers a 50-48 lead with 9:53 left in regulation.
Terrence Hunter (nine points) tied the game at 50 for Morgan with a jumper, but the Ramblers scored the next five, to go up 55-50.
Then Morgan got sloppy, committing three of its 13 second-half turnovers as Loyola increased its lead to 65-55 cushion with 4:41 remainingin regulation.
"We've got to find some kind of cohesiveness where we can be competitive enough to find some people to get us over the hump," Holmes said.
"We're still knocking at the door, and it's early in the year. We've got some time, but still need some people to score for us consistently, no question about it."