Morgan State gets defensive, wins its home finale, 78-74 Grant, Watson overpower North Carolina A&T

February 22, 1996|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Senior guard Paul Grant and freshman forward Chris Watson combined for 38 points, 25 in the second half, as Morgan State closed its home schedule with a 78-74 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win over North Carolina A&T last night at Hill Field House.

The win improved Morgan's record to 7-19 overall and 6-9 in the MEAC and was the last game to be played at Hill before renovations begin later this year.

Grant (Carver) led the Bears with 21 points and four assists and sparked the Morgan man-to-man defense. Watson finished with 17 points and seven rebounds and Rasheed Sparks scored 14 and had five assists.

"I'm happy with the effort we've been getting" said Morgan coach Chris Fuller. "We played a zone against them last week [a 77-74 win at A&T] but they were prepared for it tonight.

"We switched to a man-to-man and the kids played it tough. They really stepped up on defense."

Leading 34-33 at the half, Morgan used three-pointers by Jerard Rucker and Watson to build a second-half lead that reached 56-49 with just over 12 minutes to play. The seven-point margin was the largest by either team.

But the Aggies (9-14 overall, 7-7 in the MEAC) tied the game once and pulled within a point on two other occasions before a three-pointer by Sparks and some free throws in the closing 70 seconds provided a safe margin.

"We played hard defense all night," said Grant. "When we do that the offense is easy."

After holding a short lead in the early minutes of the game, Morgan trailed through most of the first half, but never by more than six points (25-19).

The Golden Bears pulled to within a point, 31-30, when Sparks fed Grant for a layup with 3:17 left in the first half.

Morgan took the lead on the next possession, as Crowley fed Sparks for a slam. A pair of free throws by Sparks increased the lead to 34-31. But the Aggies closed the halftime margin to 34-33.

Watson, who scored 15 points in the second half, hit a pair of early second-half three-pointers and led the offense after that.

Morgan ends its regular season Saturday at UMES.

NORTH CAROLINA A&T -- Williams 3-6 2-4 8, Chambers 0-0 0-0 0, Stewart 5-8 0-0 10, Latimer 1-3 0-0 3, Powell 0-0 0-0 0, Grey 4-8 6-6 17, Breazeale 1-5 0-0 2, Beasley 3-8 0-0 7, Tucker 2-3 0-0 6, Stimpson 1-6 2-4 4, Key 0-2 0-2 0, St. John 1-3 3-4 5, Knowlin 6-10 0-1 12. Totals 27-62 13-21 74.

MORGAN STATE -- Sparks 5-10 3-4 14, Holmes 2-4 1-2 5, Watson 6-10 3-4 17, Grant 10-14 1-5 21, Rucker 1-5 2-2 5, Crowley 1-2 4-8 6, Herron 1-1 0-0 2, Deas 0-2 0-0 0, Demory 1-4 0-0 2, Lewis 3-4 0-3 6. Totals 30-56 14-28 78.

Halftime--Morgan State, 34-33. 3-point goals--NCAT 7-18 (Grey 3-5, Tucker 2-3, Latimer 1-1, Beasley 1-6, Breazeale 0-1, Knowlin 0-1, Williams 0-1); MS 4-13 (Watson 2-3, Rucker 1-3, Sparks 1-3, Deas 0-1, Grant 0-1, Demory 0-2). Fouled out--Beasley, Williamson. Rebounds--NCAT 42 (Knowlin 9); MS 33 (Watson 7). Assists--NCAT 12 (Williams 6); MS 15 (Sparks 5). Total fouls--NCAT 24, MS 15. A--1,509.

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