Bethune eliminates Morgan in double OT

Toussaint's 49 help sink Bears in MEAC, 104-103

College Basketball

March 12, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - Because Morgan State refused to sink quietly into oblivion, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men's tournament received a classic yesterday at the Arthur Ashe Center.

What figured as a pitched battle between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds turned into an even more pulsating event that wasn't settled until Morgan freshman Ronald Timus missed a free throw with no time left in double overtime, giving Bethune-Cookman a 104-103 victory.

For their achievement, the ninth-seeded Wildcats get to play regular-season champion South Carolina State in the quarterfinals this afternoon.

The Bears were almost resigned to the elimination file after a lopsided first half that turned into the Richard Toussaint Show. The 2002 MEAC scoring champion made 10 of 11 shots, some from trying angles, and scored 23 points as Bethune roared to a 48-32 lead.

"I was really focused in the first half," said Toussaint, who finished with a tournament-record 49 points and 25 free-throw attempts and tied the record for field goals (15) and free throws (19). "[Morgan's Sam] Brand started talking some bad stuff even before the game started, so I said, `OK, I'll see you after the game.' "

Toussaint also was a little miffed because he had failed to repeat on the All-MEAC first team, falling to the second team. "That had something to do with my play, too," he said.

To the Bears' credit, they did not wilt. With a trapping, pressing defense, they took Bethune out of the comfort zone and into a scrambling mode midway through the second half. By forcing a flurry of turnovers, they gnawed into the deficit and finally caught up on Douglas Sims' dunk with 37 seconds to go in regulation.

"We had two games with them [which the teams split] where they did the attacking," said Morgan coach Butch Beard. `I think we caught them by surprise when we went on the attack [defensively]."

Toussaint forced a jumper in an attempt to win it, but it was far off target, then Randy Dukes missed from the side at the other end, forcing overtime.

Neither team had more than a two-point lead in the first extra session when foul trouble began to cut into their resources. That ended when Toussaint couldn't close it out with a 15-footer.

Back and forth they went again in the second overtime, with Bethune (7-21) twice gaining four-point edges and eventually scoring the final point on a free throw by Toussaint.

On Morgan's final thrust, a set play went awry, as a pass flew out of bounds underneath the basket. But with .2 on the clock, Timus leaped high in the lane for the inbounds pass and was fouled by Ade' Swann.

Timus made the first foul shot, but the second caromed off the front rim as Bethune began the celebration.

"It was one of those games where you really feel bad for the team that loses," Beard said. "If we had played this way all year, we'd have won a lot more games."

Morgan (7-21) missed five key foul shots in the overtime periods and watched the Wildcats go to the line 61 times overall (to the Bears' 39) and convert 47.

Point guard Cedric Barrow had 22 points and 10 assists for the Bears, and seniors Sims (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Randy Dukes (19 points) ended their careers productively.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN - Carter 2-5 2-4 6, Riddick 4-12 3-4 14, Ba 4-9 7-8 15, Toussaint 15-20 19-25 49, Williams 1-3 4-4 6, Frink 1-1 6-6 8, Reed 0-1 1-2 1, Swann 0-1 5-6 5, Picard 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 27-53 47-61 104.

MORGAN STATE - Barrow 6-11 8-10 22, Brand 7-15 2-3 18, Dukes 6-14 4-4 19, Andrews 4-5 2-2 10, Pellerin 2-2 0-1 4, Timus 0-4 6-8 6, Sims 8-13 5-11 21, Snipes 0-0 0-0 0, Grandy 1-3 0-0 3, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Patrick 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-68 27-39 103.

Half -Bethune-Cookman, 48-32. End of regulation-79-79. End of 1st OT-89-89. 3-point goals-Bethune-Cookman 3-9 (Riddick 3-8, Reed 0-1.), Morgan State 8-20 (Dukes 3-6, Barrow 2-4, Brand 2-6, Grandy 1-3, Timus 0-1.) Fouled out-Carter, Ba, Williams, Picard, Brand, Andrews, Patrick. Rebounds-Bethune-Cookman 39 (Williams 12), Morgan State 35 (Sims 11). Assists-Bethune-Cookman 8 (Williams, Swann 2), Morgan State 20 (Barrow 10.) Total fouls-Bethune-Cookman 32, Morgan State 36. A-N/A.

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