Growing still pain to Morgan, 78-70

Young Bears fall to series of Norfolk State runs

January 23, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

In better times, Morgan State coach Chris Fuller might be able to laugh at his team's 6-for-26 shooting from three-point range, or at Norfolk State's 14 steals, 37 trips to the free-throw line and 63 percent second-half shooting.

For now, however, the foibles constitute the price of progress for the youthful Bears team, which dropped to 2-13 and 2-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference yesterday with a 78-70 loss to the Spartans at Hill Field House.

"We are playing a lot of people who didn't play a lot last year," Fuller said. "Jimmy [Fields] is really our only starter back. I have to remind myself of that when I get depressed."

Michael Canady and Doug Qualls offered some reason for hope, each with double-double performances that gave the Bears some inside punch.

Qualls finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Canady had an all-around game that included 21 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.

But while Ronnie Van Hook and Reggie Winkfield also finished with 12 points apiece, it wasn't enough to offset an off-night for Fields, who went scoreless in the first half and finished with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.

The team's leading scorer, Fields is now an uncharacteristic 6-for-28 in the last two games, partly because of an injured wrist that may have come from physical play by defenders.

"We need Jimmy to play well," Fuller said, "but the pounding is starting to affect him."

Norfolk State coach Wil Jones said he was happy with how his team handled Fields and Morgan's other perimeter players, allowing them to make only 13 of 47 shots from the field. "We knew that they were a good shooting team," Jones said, "but we did a good job on Fields."

Morgan State had initial success against the Spartans (6-10, 5-2), then gave up a 15-3 run that led to a 22-13 deficit with 14: 12 to go in the first half. Van Hook and Canady combined for 10 of the points on a 12-2 run that gave the Bears a 25-24 lead at the 5: 39 mark, but they ended up down 33-32 at halftime.

In the first five minutes of the second half, Norfolk State created all the cushion it would need, going on a 19-8 run propelled by the same transition baskets Iona used to break Morgan State earlier in the week.

"They hit us with that run, and that was the ballgame," Fuller said.

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