Morgan keeps up good form

January 20, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

The "Bad News" Bears have suddenly become the "Golden" Bears.

Morgan State, which began the season with 12 straight losses, continued its dramatic turnaround at Hill Field House last night, fighting off a late rally by Florida A&M, to record its third straight victory, 90-84, before a noisy crowd of 3,056.

It took a brilliant 26-point performance by senior forward Terrence Wright and seven clutch points in the closing minutes by reserve senior guard Damian Zellous to raise the rejuvenated Bears' MEAC record to 3-2 under interim head coach Lynn Ramage.

"The guys have just decided to make the commitment," Ramage said. "They're starting to believe in themselves, and different guys are stepping up every game."

The Rattlers (3-12, 0-5), who had lost 18 straight Division I games since beating Morgan last February, appeared ready to pick on the Bears again.

Led by explosive senior guard Ricky Davis (34 points), Florida A&M jumped out to a 20-9 advantage in the first seven minutes.

"We had a hard time matching up with Davis, and they were killing us with their penetration," said Ramage. "I just told my guys that we have to keep them in the middle of the floor and not give up easy baskets."

The Bears tightened their defense and led by senior center Brandon Battle (19 points, 10 rebounds), who made five three-point shots, they moved to a 48-40 halftime lead.

The margin ballooned to 58-44 early in the second half.

But the Rattlers, who have a freshman guard with the improbable name of Scientific Mapp, quickly found their way back into the game.

With Davis attacking the basket with his acrobatic spin moves, the visitors closed to 68-67 with 7:31 left. Five minutes later, Morgan was clinging to an 80-76 lead after Rattlers guard Byron Coast made a three-pointer.

That's when Zellous went to work. With the 24-second clock running out, the Pittsburgh native swished a three-pointer. After Rattlers forward Clayton Owens missed two, Zellous made two free throws.

Wright added a pair of foul shots to boost the margin to 87-76. Mapp answered with a short jumper before Zellous finally put it out of reach with two more free throws with 49 seconds left.

"It's been a real uphill fight," said Wright, who has suffered through three-plus lean years, coaching changes and defections key teammates. "But now everyone is beginning to understand his role.

4( "We've developed into a team again."

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