Morgan State silenced by S.C. State, 82-69 Motivated Bulldogs advance to MEAC final

March 07, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- It took a hot-shooting South Carolina State team less than 12 minutes last night to knock most of the confidence out of Morgan State and defuse any talk of a Morgan showdown with Coppin State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship game today.

The second-seeded Bulldogs apparently were inspired over some remarks made Thursday night by Morgan senior point guard Lorenzo Hutchinson, and tore through the third-seeded Bears (12-16) for an 82-69 victory in a tournament semifinal.

The Bulldogs opened a 29-8 lead with a little more than eight minutes left in the first half, forcing Morgan to go away from its inside game too soon and allowing South Carolina State to cruise to a victory that ended the Bears season amid a lot of tears.

A few minutes after Morgan had rolled by Maryland Eastern Shore in Thursday night's quarterfinals, Hutchinson said he and the Bears were looking forward to playing "North Carolina and Kansas in the NCAA tournament not the Coppin States [in the MEAC final]."

Those words didn't sit well with South Carolina State (21-7), which now gets a shot at top-seeded Coppin State in today's noon final.

"That showed disrespect for us," said S.C. State guard Tyler Brown. "It sounded as if they were looking past us and Coppin State."

Brown and his backcourt mate, Roderick Blakney, led the early Bulldogs' assault last night with an impressive array of long-range jumpers.

Blakney went on to score 28 and Brown had 17 in the surprising rout, which also included 14 points from 6-foot-8 center Raheem Waller and 12 from James Jones.

"The first half set the tone," said S.C. State coach Cy Alexander. "I knew they would have to go to small ball with four guards in the second half, and that is exactly what we wanted them to do."

Senior Morgan guard Tremaine Byrd scored 19 in the second half for a game-high 29, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome a 46-22 S.C. State halftime lead.

Hutchinson was the only other Morgan player to score in double figures with 11.

Morgan coach Chris Fuller said his Bears were beaten more by an inspired S.C. State team than by any kind of strategy.

"We just ran into a buzz saw," said Fuller, whose three-year contract runs out this season, but is expected to be renewed in the near future. "We were beaten by a very good S.C. State team, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow."

When asked if maybe his team had too much of a letdown after routing Maryland Eastern Shore, Fuller said, "I don't know. I'll have to analyze it."

Byrd, Hutchinson and Jerard Rucker, all seniors, exchanged hugs with Fuller and were fighting back tears as they prepared to leave for the last time as Morgan players.

MORGAN ST. -- Byrd 12-20 0-0 29, Hutchinson 3-7 3-3 11, Van Hook 0-2 0-0 0, King 2-4 0-0 4, Canady 1-1 0-0 2, Fields 0-5 0-0 0, Rucker 3-6 0-2 8, Sparks 2-6 1-2 7, McBride 0-3 2-2 2, Dalton 0-1 1-2 1, Qualls 2-4 1-3 5, Dorcinvil 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-60 8-14 69.

S.C. STATE -- Blakney 10-16 8-9 28, Brown 7-12 0-0 17, McGowins 0-6 0-0 0, Waller 6-8 2-5 14, Johnson 2-3 0-0 4, Davis 2-4 2-2 7, Jones 5-10 0-0 12, Neis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-60 12-16 82.

Halftime--S.C. State 46-22. 3-point goals--Morgan St. 11-27 (Byrd Hutchinson 2-3, King 0-1, Fields 0-2, Rucker 2-5, Sparks 2-4, Dalton 0-1), S.C. State 6-17 (Blakney 0-1, Brown 3-6, McGowins 0-3, Davis 1-2, Jones 2-5). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Morgan St. 30 (Hutchinson, Rucker, Sparks 4), S.C. State 37 (Waller 11). Assists--Morgan St. 9 (Fields 6), S.C. State 10 (Blakney 5). Total fouls--Morgan St. 17, S.C. State 14. Technicals--Morgan St. bench.

Pub Date: 3/07/98

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