Morgan, coach hit bottom with latest setback, 68-65

Record now 3-15

Fuller wonders about job status

January 30, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

It was the same old story for the Morgan State basketball team yesterday at Hill Field House.

There were flashes of excellence, several flirtations with victory and some inspiring moments of play. But when the final buzzer sounded, the Bears had another frustrating loss, leaving Morgan coach Chris Fuller crestfallen and wondering out loud if he would be back next season.

"I don't know if I'll be around to see this young team fulfill its potential," Fuller said after Morgan dropped a 68-65 decision to North Carolina A&T.

"I know what it's like in this business. You have to win, and I've done that the last four years, improving our record each season. But now it seems like whatever can go wrong will go wrong for us. I believe the future is bright but I don't know if I'll be here to see it."

Fuller, in his fifth season as head coach at Morgan, had taken the Bears from a 7-20 record in 1996 to 14-14 last season. He hoped to continue the improvement this season but instead is looking at a 3-15 overall record and 3-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference mark.

Morgan has been hurt by youthful mistakes and the dropout of standout forward Curtis King, who returned home to Philadelphia.

Yesterday, Fuller watched as 21 turnovers for the game and two air balls on three-point shots in the final 10 seconds dragged his team down against the Aggies (8-10, 6-4), who are coached by Curtis Hunter, a former teammate of Michael Jordan at North Carolina.

The second late air ball was tossed up by senior guard Jimmy Fields, who has been the team's go-to player all season with a 16-point scoring average. Fields was going for a tie when his three-pointer with two seconds left fell short.

"Jimmy is a marked man," Fuller said. "He has a bull's-eye on his back. They were banging on him and beating him up all day. Teams aren't going to let Jimmy beat them if they can help it. They weren't going to let him get too close to the three-point line."

Fields finished with nine assists, two steals and five points. Junior center Michael Canady led Morgan with 19 points and seven rebounds while hooking up with Fields for four alley-oop dunks. Morgan freshman Reggie Winkfield tied a career high with 17 points.

Sophomore forward Bruce Jenkins, who played at Montgomery Blair in Silver Spring, led North Carolina A&T with 17 points and seven rebounds.

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