Morgan throws scare into Hampton

Lowly Bears give top seed battle before losing, 93-70

College Basketball

March 07, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - Morgan State's Cinderella story ended long before midnight yesterday.

The plucky Bears stayed abreast of top-seeded and defending-champion Hampton for 25 minutes, then sank under an avalanche of superior talent and depth to lose their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference quarterfinal at the Richmond Coliseum, 93-70.

"We knew we would almost have to be perfect in everything we do to win," said Morgan coach Butch Beard. "They're by far the best team in the conference, physically. The first half, we were down six and still in it, but then they showed the heart of a champion."

Morgan, the tournament's bottom seed, which finished with a 3-25 record, actually led the Pirates 43-42 and was still within two points when Hampton unloaded a 14-0 surge highlighted by three three-point baskets.

With their best shooter, Randy Dukes, on the bench with four fouls and Reggie Winkfield, the team's other major three-point threat, having problems with a groin injury, the Bears did not have the firepower to stay afloat.

Hampton (24-6), the team that beat Iowa State in the NCAA tournament last year, pulled away convincingly for its 18th victory against 19 MEAC rivals this season. The only loss was on a last-second tip-in at Howard.

"This game scared us," said Pirates coach Steve Merfeld. "The first one is extremely difficult because your opponent has already won a tournament game. Morgan State played as well as they have all season. They really improved."

"I know emotionally I was frustrated. We didn't want the game that close," said Hampton guard and MEAC Player of the Year Tommy Adams (21 points, four assists, four steals). "But we kept our heads high and got over the hump."

The Bears led three times in the first half, when Dukes scored nine points and a zone kept Hampton firing up three-pointers with only mild success.

Winkfield hit two straight threes to tie the game early in the second half and then gave Morgan its final lead with a third. Then, he went to the bench and the Pirates parlayed six points by Adams and six by Mackel Purvis into total command.

"They had already started to put their will on this game [when Winkfield left]," said Beard. "They had to take care of us and they did."

Winkfield finished with 15 points and Dukes had 13 for the Bears, who shot 46 percent from the field, but were the victims of 12 steals and 20 overall turnovers.

Morgan had advanced with a thrilling, 94-91 double-overtime decision over Florida A&M Monday.

"I can't really say that the tournament has been satisfying," said forward Curtis King, who completed his Morgan career with 1,369 points.

"But we came a long way from where we were earlier in the season. Our margin for error was short, but we were doing things here that we should have done a lot earlier."

"We played hard in the two games of this tournament," said Beard. "We can walk out of here holding our heads high."

MORGAN STATE-Winkfield 5-10 1-2 15, Barrow 2-5 3-4 7, Dukes 5-10 2-2 13, Reece 2-5 2-2 6, King 3-7 2-2 8, Grandy 0-2 0-0 0, McNeil 2-4 0-1 5, Stallings 2-3 2-2 7, Scott 0-0 2-2 2, Fisher 0-1 0-0 0, Snipes 0-1 2-2 2, Andrews 2-2 0-0 4, Ward 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 23-50 18-21 70.

HAMPTON-Green 3-7 2-2 10, Jefferson 4-5 0-0 8, Adams 6-13 6-8 21, Purvis 7-17 0-0 16, Johnson 2-5 2-2 6, Paul 0-0 0-0 0, Didlake 2-4 5-6 9, James 1-2 1-3 3, McNeal 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Pitts 2-2 0-0 4, Hariston 6-8 2-2 14. Totals 34-65 18-23 93.

Half: Hampton, 40-34. 3-point goals: MS 6-15 (Winkfield 4-8, Stallings 1-1, Dukes 1-3, Barrow 0-2, McNeil 0-1); H 7-18 (Adams 3-8, Green 2-2, Purvis 2-5, Jefferson 0-1, Didlake 0-1, Hariston 0-1). Rebounds: MS 31 (Reece 6); H 33 (Jefferson 8). Assists: MS 11 (McNeil 5); H 12 (Adams 4). Total fouls: MS 21, H 18. Fouled out: McNeil. A: n/a.

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