Morgan runs down Del. State, 80-68 Deeper Bears step up pace in second half to square MEAC mark in 'home' win

January 13, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

It wasn't a picturesque game by any means, but Morgan State will take it, however it looked.

In a battle of attrition at Baltimore City Community College last night, the Bears rallied in the second half and outlasted Delaware State, 80-68, before 500 fans.

The victory pulled Morgan (3-11, 3-3) even in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference after a one-sided loss Saturday to Coppin ,, State at the Bears' "home away from home" while Hill Field House is being renovated.

"We extended the defense and tried to turn it into a 94-foot game," said Bears coach Chris Fuller, whose team launched a 14-2 run after trailing 41-37 early in the second half.

"We figured with our depth at guard, we could play that game a little longer than they could. Our kids played really well in the second half."

The decisive spurt was fueled by the play of junior forward Rasheed Sparks and sophomore guard Ronnie Van Hook, each of whom contributed six points as Morgan soared into a 51-43 advantage.

"It all just came through the flow of the offense," said Sparks, who finished with 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds after a 34-point eruption against Coppin. "We needed to come back and get this one after that disappointing loss."

Delaware State (2-9, 0-4 MEAC) is another young team feeling its way along. The loss was the ninth straight for the Hornets, who have had trouble holding onto the ball and stopping the opposition.

The game turned into a free-throw shooting contest in the first half after several early skirmishes had the officials calling a close game.

Thirty personals were whistled, 47 free throws attempted and 24 turnovers executed during a period Sparks called "a bit sloppy."

"The officials had no choice but to call it that way," said Fuller. "We're struggling and so are they, so it was a little physical."

Delaware State scored the first three points of the second half for a 39-33 edge, but center Michael Canady got the Bears going with two baskets before Van Hook and Sparks started to thrive in the full-court press.

The Hornets never got closer than five after Morgan's rush and six foul shots by Lorenzo Hutchinson kept them at bay at the end.

Van Hook led Morgan -- which shot 57 percent after halftime -- with 19 points while slim forward Barrington Clarke topped the Hornets with 16. Brian Butler and Reggie Stevens added 14 apiece for the Hornets.

Delaware State finished with 26 turnovers and shot only 37 percent from the field, including 3-for-12 from three-point range.

"Last year we only lost two games at home and we've already done that this year," said Fuller. "So this was an important game. You want to defend your own court and go .500 on the road in this league."

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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