Up 41-17, Bears roll by Del. State, 85-57

January 17, 1995|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Morgan State, the last Division I team this season to win its first game, captured its second in a row last night, playing a nearly flawless first half and then rolling past Delaware State, 85-57, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup at Hill Field House.

Morgan (2-12, 2-2) played serious pressure defense for the first 20 minutes and the result was a whopping 41-17 lead against a team that had led MEAC power Coppin State at the half Saturday night.

"That's the best half I've ever seen by a team here," said Bears interim coach Lynn Ramage, who has been at the school since 1990.

"There was no secret about it, pressure on the ball, good man-to-man defense and score on the other end. I can't really single out anybody. It was just the way a team should play."

The Bears finished with six players scoring between 10 and 13 points, out-rebounded a Delaware State team with a beefy front line by nine and shot 54.1 percent from the field by using good ball movement that led to excellent shots.

"Defense is what we work on the most," said forward Scott Deas. "Coach made a lot of substitutions to keep us fresh. That was our strategy . . . to keep them running."

Delaware State (4-10, 1-4) never had a chance to dominate inside with its big men because Morgan shut them off with strong post defense.

Chris Nurse, a 16.3-point scorer who leads the MEAC in field-goal percentage and rebounding, had 15 points and 11 rebounds, but only four and three, respectively, in the first half.

Deas said all the Bears "needed was some confidence" and that came when they defeated UMES, 76-65, to break a 12-game losing streak.

The Bears wore down the Hornets with the dizzying substitution pattern, breaking away from an 11-10 game with a 19-2 run that included five Delaware State turnovers.

Their offense was clicking merrily along with rotating guards scoring underneath and center Brandon Battle knocking home three-pointers.

A three by Battle gave Morgan its biggest lead of the first half, 41-14, in a pattern that was almost incredulous.

Ramage said the pattern of reserves will continue because "since Day 1 we've played 11 people. None of them stand out over the others.

"We got a little sloppy in the second half, but after all this team has been through the last few years, a game like this is rewarding. But we still have a long ways to go."

The Bears' immediate reward will be a 6 a.m. practice today. That is their normal workout time and Ramage said the results have been good on the court and in the classroom.

To show how good the Morgan defense was, Delaware State was shooting 54.3 percent from the field in the last two games. Last night, the Hornets hit 34.8 percent in the first half, 35.6 percent overall.

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