UMES tops Morgan and .500

January 30, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

Rob Chavez, who inherited a 3-25 UMES basketball team two years ago, has staged a dramatic turnaround. His Hawks climbed over the .500 mark (9-8, 5-3) last night, withstanding repeated rallies to beat Morgan State, 82-77, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Hill Fieldhouse.

But Chavez, 35, the first white head coach in the MEAC's 22-year history, was anything but satisfied. He ranted and raved for 10 minutes in the dressing room following his team's ragged performance, underlined by 28 turnovers.

"We played our best ball of the season for the first seven minutes," he said, noting how the Hawks streaked to a 22-2 lead while shooting with amazing accuracy from the perimeter. "But then we performed like a junior high team and got our butts kicked for the next 33 minutes.

"We were sloppy, real sloppy. That's the worst we've handled the ball against the press. Give Morgan credit. They kept scrapping and coming back, but in the end, it looked like neither team wanted to win."

It wasn't until Hawks sophomore guard Aaron McKinney scored on a breakaway dunk with 15 seconds left for an 82-74 cushion that Chavez could breath easily. It completed a season-series sweep by the Hawks over the Bears, who lost their sixth straight at home, dropping to 3-14 overall and 1-7 in the MEAC.

"When the game is close, we just don't know how to execute and hurry our shots," said Morgan coach Michael Holmes. "We lack leadership in the backcourt, and we're just not experienced enough up front.

"We came out flat tonight after giving a good effort against Coppin Thursday night. But we've been beaten down so long, some of the players are starting to go after each other."

Promising forward Gerald Jordan sparked the Bears comeback with 27 points and 22 rebounds while making 12 of 19 shots. But the redshirt sophomore suffered several mental lapses on defense that led to easy baskets by UMES and a benching by Holmes.

The Hawks, who shot a sensational 67 percent in the first half, jumped out to a 20-point with guards Dale Harrison (26 points) and Terrell Harris scoring repeatedly on long jump shots.

The Bears then used a trapping defense, aggressive rebounding by their twin towers, Jordan and Chris McCarthy, and the three-point shooting of Kevin Young to close to 38-36.

But Harrison regained the momentum for UMES by hitting a buzzer-beating 30- foot shot for a 43-36 cushion at halftime.

The Hawks increased their lead to 66-51 midway of the second half, but once again got careless with the ball, allowing Morgan to close to 68-60.

UMES built the lead to 76-65 before the Bears staged one last rally. A circus layup by senior guard Chico Langston trimmed the deficit to 77-72 with 53 seconds left.

Harrison then made a pair of pressure foul shots, only to have Jordan answer with a slam dunk. But McKinney scored the next three points to finally put it away.

"We got killed here last year [88-69], so I guess this is a sign of progress," said Chavez, finally regaining his composure.

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