Morgan throttles UMES, 72-51 Hutchinson, Bears have Coppin, NCAAs on mind

March 06, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- A confident Morgan State point guard Lorenzo Hutchinson injected some excitement yesterday into a routine Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament moments after the Bears had blitzed UMES, 72-51, in the quarterfinals.

"I want to see North Carolina and Kansas in the NCAA tournament, not the Coppin States," said Hutchinson when asked if he was looking forward to a possible matchup with city rival Coppin State in the MEAC championship game tomorrow at noon at the Richmond Coliseum.

First Hutchinson and the third-seeded Bears have to get past second-seeded South Carolina State tonight at 6 in the semis, but the senior leader couldn't help but dreaming of a trip to the 64-team NCAA field -- even if his words might come back to haunt him should Morgan and top-seeded Coppin meet for the NCAA berth.

Morgan (12-15) won its fourth straight game with an impressive defensive show and spurts of offensive brilliance.

Team scoring and rebounding leader Rasheed Sparks returned to action for 19 minutes after missing three games with a badly sprained left ankle that was at first thought to be broken.

Sparks was hurt in a Feb. 21 loss to South Carolina State, and Morgan was prepared to go the rest of the season without him.

"I was 85 percent out there today," Sparks said. "I was rusty but it was great to be playing with my teammates."

Sparks, like Hutchinson, brushed aside talk of a Coppin matchup in the final and said, "Our goal is to go to the NCAA tournament."

Sparks, who is averaging 15.5 points and 6.3 rebounds, scored six points and had three rebounds and three assists yesterday but didn't have the same quick first step to the basket.

Sparks was just one of nine Morgan players who scored in the rout of sixth-seeded UMES (9-18), which didn't have its top player, senior guard Cryhten Langhorne, who is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

For Morgan yesterday, senior guard Tremain Byrd had a game-high 19 points, freshman forward Curtis King had 12 points and sophomore forward Ronnie Van Hook (Lake Clifton) scored 10.

The Bears, who ran 12 players in and out of the game, were never seriously threatened by the listless Hawks, who shot only 28.6 percent from the field.

Morgan built a 29-16 lead with close to four minutes left in the first half and scored the first eight points of the second half for a 44-23 lead with 17: 24 remaining.

UMES coach Lonnie Williams called the game "our worst performance of the year, and I have to go out and do some recruiting."

Williams and Morgan coach Chris Fuller did not shake hands at the end of the game. The two had some words early in the second half after a flagrant foul call on UMES junior guard Bram Reynolds.

"Chris [Fuller] yelled at me and said my players were fouling too hard," said Williams. "My kid [Reynolds] was frustrated, and it just happened. I started over to shake Chris' hand at the end of the game, but he turned and headed to the locker room. But I have no hard feelings toward him. I'll forget it tomorrow, and I'm sure he will too."

Said Fuller: "Coaches are human beings and sometimes they get too excited during a game. We want to keep people healthy."

UMES -- Hoover 2-8 2-2 6, Conway 0-4 1-4 1, Cheek 2-10 1-1 6, Jones 4-9 2-6 10, Wright 1-3 0-0 2, Harrison 4-8 3-6 11, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Reynolds 1-4 0-0 3, Oxilus 0-3 4-4 4, White 2-2 1-2 5, Peters-Marshall 0-0 3-4 3, Christian 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 16-56 17-29 51.

MORGAN STATE -- Byrd 6-12 3-3 19, Hutchinson 0-4 0-0 0, Van Hook 4-10 2-4 10, King 6-9 0-0 12, Canady 2-6 2-2 6, Fields 2-6 0-0 6, Rucker 3-5 0-0 5, Sparks 2-5 2-3 6, McBride 1-2 0-0 2, Dalton 0-0 0-0 0, Qualls 2-3 2-2 6, Dorcinvil 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-64 11-14 72.

Halftime--Morgan State 36-23. 3-point goals--UMES 2-11 (Conway 0-1, Cheek 1-3, Smith 0-2, Reynolds 1-3, Oxilus 0-1, Christian 0-1), Morgan State 7-18 (Byrd 4-6, Hutchinson 0-1, Van Hook 0-3, Fields 2-4, Rucker 1-4). Fouled out--Canady. Rebounds--UMES 43 (Cheek 8), Morgan State 41 (Byrd, Hutchinson 7). Assists--UMES 10 (Cheek 3), Morgan State 18 (Hutchinson 7). Total fouls--UMES 13, Morgan State 23.

MEAC men's tournament

At Richmond, Va.

Tuesday's first round

Howard 79, B.-Cook. 77, OT

Wednesday's quarterfinals

Coppin State 82, Howard 66

S.C. State 64, N.C. A&T 58

Yesterday's quarterfinals

Morgan State 72, UMES 51

Fla. A&M 88, Del. State 70

Today's semifinals

Coppin St. vs. Fla. A&M, 4 p.m.

Morgan St. vs. S.C. St., 6 p.m.

Tomorrow's championship

Semifinal winners, noon,

ESPN2

Pub Date: 3/06/98

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