Morgan ends 4-game skid, 77-70

Led by Fields' 20 points, all 12 Bears score in putting away UMES

January 16, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

It wasn't pretty, but the Morgan State men's basketball team picked up a much-needed victory yesterday, beating Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-70, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Hill Field House.

Jimmy Fields scored 20 points and handed out seven assists for the Bears (2-11, 2-2), who picked up their first victory since Dec. 15, a 58-57 win over Coppin State that also was their last home game.

Since then, Morgan State had been kicked around during a four-game losing streak where the margins were 18 points or higher. That made beating a struggling UMES (4-11, 1-5) -- without its top two ball-handlers, Benji Surpin and Kofi Amoama -- a relief instead of something to be taken for granted.

"We're happy to be on the other side," said Morgan State coach Chris Fuller, whose team held UMES to 30 percent shooting. "We have a lot to work on, but you have to be glad when you win."

The coach was pleased to see his team get off to a fast start, weather a few charges by the Hawks and make big plays down the stretch to remain in the MEAC race, with Norfolk State coming in next Saturday after the Bears play host to Iona in a non-conference game on Wednesday.

In particular, he was happy to see 18 assists and all 12 Morgan State players scoring.

Reggie Winkfield, a freshman guard, scored 16 points in his fourth start. He scored 12 in the first half, as the Bears took a 32-15 lead at the 8: 03 mark.

"Tonight, I felt more of a comfort level," said Winkfield, who hit four three-pointers in the first half. "My teammates were getting me involved, talking to me on defense and making sure that I didn't throw the ball away."

The Bears couldn't maintain the intensity of the first 12 minutes and -- with the Hawks making 13 of 23 free throws in the first half -- had to settle for a 41-34 lead at halftime.

Several times during the second half, UMES crept within five points of Morgan State only to be nudged backward.

The closest the Hawks got was three points, when Kevin Wallace -- the game-high scorer with 23 points -- hit a jump shot with 10: 38 left in the game. UMES hovered until the five-minute mark, when a Van Hook lay-in off a Winkfield steal followed a Fields three-pointer and gave Morgan State a 69-60 lead.

"We had a lot of opportunities," Hawks coach Lonnie Williams said of the team's 43 free throws and 23 offensive rebounds. "We missed second shots, missed first shots. But that's just basketball."

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