Senior send-off benefits Morgan

20 each by Fields, Van Hook help beat Del. State, 86-77

March 04, 2000|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Even when a team's record is 4-23, something about Senior Night seems to inspire those being honored.

That was the case at Hill Field House last night, as Morgan State seniors Jimmy Fields and Ronnie Van Hook were important cogs in the Bears' late-blooming offense.

The two were part of a three-man show by local high school graduates, Fields from Gilman and Van Hook from Lake Clifton, plus 6-foot-7 sophomore Brandon Reece from St. Frances. Each scored 20 points, as the Bears (5-23, 5-13) staved off a late rush by Delaware State (6-21, 5-13) for an 86-77 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory.

A subplot was the battle for seedings in next week's conference tournament in Richmond, Va. Morgan needed to win by at least 12 to get the ninth seed, but now with the 10th seed will play either UMES or Florida A&M, which has one game left today.

That was window dressing, however, as far as coach Chris Fuller was concerned.

"We just needed to win a basketball game," he said of his team's third straight 80-plus scoring effort that ended a six-game losing streak. "We did talk about it before the game, though, and I think it helped us to play harder."

Van Hook, who made his first start of the year as part of the senior tradition, ended with a career-high 20 points, two assists, and one turnover. The 6-2 guard came in averaging 8.0 points.

A 31 percent shooter on three-pointers, he had the range this time, hitting four of five from outside on his way to 7-for-11. "I've been practicing those, and this turned out to be one of my best games," he said.

Where Delaware State had turned an 11-2 second-half burst into a 72-61 win at home last month, this time the Bears had an answer for another 11-2 run that erased most of a 42-26 lead three minutes into the half.

They increased the margin to as many as 13 points in the next six minutes, and still led by 78-66 at 2: 28. Marty Bailey, a 6-2 sophomore guard from Easton, took care of the seeding talk with successive three-pointers, and the Hornets closed to within 80-74.

NOTE: Fuller started his four seniors, with Angelo Herron and Doug Qualls joining Fields and Van Hook.

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