1-11 Morgan misfires in 72-56 defeat South Carolina State prevails in MEAC opener

January 05, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When a team shoots as poorly as Morgan State does, it had better play stellar defense or it's in for a long season.

Morgan continued to learn that lesson last night, shooting just 35 percent and falling to South Carolina State, 72-56, in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams before 448 at Hill Field House. The Bears (1-11) lost their eighth straight, and South Carolina State (5-4) showed why it was the coaches' preseason pick to win the MEAC.

The Bears are shooting well under 40 percent as a team and have no player averaging in double digits. The Bulldogs have three, including preseason All-MEAC forward Derrick Patterson, who was averaging 18.0.

"We haven't executed our offense very well," Morgan coach Chris Fuller said. "Our shot selection was poor. We end up taking shots we shouldn't be taking, and when you couple that with our lack of size, it limits our offensive game plan."

All five Bulldogs starters scored 10 or more last night, and South Carolina State led throughout.

The Bulldogs were up by 11 at the half, and by 22 less than seven minutes later. South Carolina State went on a 12-1 run early in the second half, punctuated by a dunk by Jamal Brown, and stretched its lead to 50-28.

Morgan then turned up its defensive intensity and went on a run.

Paul Grant's three-pointer and Jeric Lewis' layup cut the margin to 53-43 with just over five minutes left. Grant struck again from behind the three-point arc with a minute left to get Morgan within eight and give him a team-high 14 points.

But Morgan would get no closer. The Bulldogs did not make a field goal in the last 5:19, but they hit their foul shots to secure the win.

"There aren't a lot of moral victories around here," Fuller said. "We're very disappointed."

Said Grant: "A lot of guys are starting to get down, but I believe we can play with anybody in the MEAC. I think after we get into the mode of the MEAC we'll improve offensively. It's all mental."

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