Morgan gets 3rd victory, advances in MEAC

11th-seeded Bears top Florida A&M in 2 OTs

March 05, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - The dreary men's basketball season at Morgan State took on a brighter hue yesterday.

In danger of going winless in midseason and owners of only two two-point victories, the Bears captured their most satisfying win of 2001-02, outlasting sixth-seeded Florida A&M, 94-91, in double overtime in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

The pulsating victory at the Arthur Ashe Center sends 11th-seeded Morgan (3-24) into the quarterfinals tomorrow afternoon against defending MEAC champion Hampton.

"It has taken us a long time to understand what it takes to win," said Morgan coach Butch Beard. "They could have quit at any time, but they did what they had to at the right time for the first time in a long time."

Morgan finally dismissed the Rattlers in the final two minutes of the second overtime on a follow shot by Randy Dukes (27 points, seven rebounds), a steal and basket and two free throws by reserve Stan Grandy and two clinching foul shots by Reggie Winkfield.

All that occurred after the Bears had squandered a 58-46 advantage with 9 1/2 minutes to play in regulation and missed half their 12 chances from the line in the final two minutes, failing to put away Florida A&M, which beat them twice during the regular season.

A spectacular three-pointer by Demarcus Wilkins (24 points) ended regulation with the score tied at 73. With the clock expiring and two Bears draped over him, Wilkins tossed up a desperation 20-footer that rattled around and banked home.

"I just threw it up and it went," said the Rattlers' sophomore guard, who did not score in the first 26 minutes, then took all the big shots down the stretch. "I just had to make something happen."

"I had my hand in his face. We knew he was going to go with it because he was taking all the shots at the end," said Dukes, who carried the Morgan offense after top scorer Curtis King fouled out with 2:56 to go in regulation.

The first overtime was a standoff in a game with 19 lead changes and 14 ties. Morgan had a three-point edge before a drive by Wilkins and his free throw forced a second extra period.

Florida A&M might have won it there, but Jermaine Hill was charged with a lane violation on a second made free throw by Wilkins and Morgan couldn't capitalize in the last 15 seconds.

Wilkins fouled out with 4:30 left in the second overtime, and forward Michael Griffith (23 points, 13 rebounds) carried the Rattlers' offense from there.

But Dukes' drives and the two key plays by Grandy put Morgan in command.

"We went through a lot of [scoring] droughts this year," said Dukes, a sophomore. "So the coach was preaching for us not to live outside the arc. I just wanted to get to the cup and put pressure on them."

For the second straight year, the Bears won as a No. 11 seed (they beat UMES in 2001), getting five double-figure scorers and enduring rather than cracking.

MORGAN STATE-Winkfield 3-7 2-4 10, Barrow 5-9 5-8 17, Dukes 9-14 6-6 27, Reece 3-11 5-8 11, King 5-9 3-3 13, Grandy 1-2 3-4 5, McNeil 2-6 4-8 9, Stallings 0-0 0-0 0, Snipes 0-0 0-0 0, Andrews 1-2 0-0 2, Ward 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-60 28-41 94.

FLORIDA A&M-Jackson 5-8 1-3 12, Wilkins 8-17 6-7 24, Griffith 8-21 5-9 23, Tudeme 2-3 0-0 4, Hill 7-13 3-3 17, Ross 1-2 0-0 2, Miles 0-1 0-0 0, Cuyler 0-1 3-4 3, Cisse 1-2 4-4 6, Jenkins 0-0 0-4 0. Totals 32-68 22-34 91.

Halftime-Florida A&M 30-29. 3-point goals-Morgan 8-16 (Winkfield 2-4, Barrow 2-4, Dukes 3-5, King 0-1, Grandy 0-1, McNeil 1-1), Florida A&M 5-17 (Jackson 1-2, Wilkins 2-7, Griffith 2-5, Tudeme 0-1, Ross 0-1, Miles 0-1). Fouled out-Barrow, Reece, King, Wilkins, Tudeme. Rebounds-Morgan 34 (Dukes 7), Florida A&M 45 (Griffith 13). Assists-Morgan 13 (Dukes 4), Florida A&M 8 (Wilkins, Griffith 2). Total fouls-Morgan 28, Florida A&M 31.

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