Bears give more, still get nothing

Morgan falls to 0-11 as Howard rolls, 93-76, but play pleases Beard

January 06, 2002|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WASHINGTON - The new year started the same way the previous one ended for Morgan State.

The Bears men's basketball team remained winless on the season, dropping a 93-76 decision to Howard yesterday in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game. Morgan has lost 12 consecutive games dating back to last season's conference tournament.

After its worst loss of the season - a 44-point drubbing to Providence on Dec. 27 - Morgan (0-11, 0-4 MEAC) was competitive in its league environment but was unable to overcome a 16-point second-half deficit.

"I was very pleased with the way we played," said Morgan State coach Butch Beard. "We played with some passion and effort, and eventually we're going to break through."

The Bears broke the 70-point barrier for the first time this season, but Howard (7-6, 2-1) dropped 11 three-pointers, four by guard Ron Williamson (23 points). Kyle Williams led the Bisons with a game-high 24 points and seven assists.

Reggie Winkfield scored 20 to guide Morgan State while senior forward Curtis King contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Morgan's four league losses have been by a total of 40 points.

Trailing by as many as 15 in the second half, Morgan cut the lead to 79-74 with 6:36 remaining after a basket by Brandon Reece (game-high 12 rebounds). But the Bears failed to capitalize on several chances, managing only two free throws by Winkfield the rest of the way.

"Today, we gave a good effort, but we couldn't hold on," King said. "Sometimes, it's hard to play catch-up ... just play hard from the beginning."

It was a homecoming for Beard, who coached the Bisons from 1990 to 1994 and led the school to its last NCAA tourney appearance in 1992. With his new team mired in an 11-game losing streak, Beard wasn't in a sentimental frame of mind.

King, who led the conference in field-goal percentage entering play yesterday, paced Morgan State in the early stages, scoring nine points as the team jumped to a 14-11 lead. That's when Williamson started the Bisons' three-point barrage, part of an 11-0 surge that gave Howard a 22-14 lead midway through the first half.

Morgan State pulled within 30-28 after a layup by Stanford Grady, but Howard hit three-pointers on three consecutive possessions, which widened the margin to 42-33. Howard shot over 57 percent in the opening half, including 7-for-14 from beyond the arc.

In the second half, a three-pointer by Randy Dukes got Morgan to 79-72 before Reece's score made it a five-point margin. Howard got two free throws by Aki Thomas and a three-pointer by Darren Kennedy, extending the lead back to double digits at 84-74 with 4:02 remaining.

"In spite of where we've been, I thought we grew," said Beard, whose team plays tomorrow night at Delaware State. "...We did some good things today, we didn't shoot the ball well. For us, we hit a dead spot that we usually hit in the first half."

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