Morgan's Brand sinks shot, S.C. State in OT

Poly alum's 9 points in OT, 28 overall, pace 85-80 win

December 05, 2004|By Ryan Basen | Ryan Basen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With a little more than a minute to play in Morgan State's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener against South Carolina State, Bears guard Sam Brand made a three-pointer from the top of the key.

As he ran back down the court, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior from Poly let out a whoop and pumped his fist. Brand's shot gave the Bears a commanding six-point lead over the visiting Bulldogs. He added two free throws about a minute later as the Bears finished off South Carolina State, 85-80, in overtime last night at Hill Field House.

"It was a huge win," said Brand, who scored 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting to lead the Bears. "I'm an emotional person and it came out on that play [the three-pointer]."

South Carolina State (5-2, 0-1) defeated Penn State and Miami in November and was the preseason favorite to win a second straight MEAC championship. Morgan State (2-4, 1-0) was picked to finish seventh.

Yet the Bears led for most of the game, taking their biggest lead, nine, on a short jumper by freshman guard Joseph McLean with just under 14 minutes to play. The Bulldogs rallied, tying the game on a leaner by junior forward Dwight Dean (Cardinal Gibbons) and taking a 51-50 lead on a free throw by Dean with 7:29 to play.

The teams exchanged the lead four times down the stretch, with Morgan State senior forward Chris Grant tying the game at 64 in the final minute.

In overtime, Brand took over. He drove to the basket on a fast break and was awarded a basket on a goaltending call, and made a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 70-67 lead. After the teams traded three-point possessions, Brand ran to his left around a pick, caught a pass, squared up and hit a rainbow three-pointer to give the Bears a 76-70 edge.

The Bulldogs cut that lead to three with under 15 seconds to play and fouled Brand. But he made both free throws with 13.7 seconds left and South Carolina State couldn't rally.

"Sam made some big shots," Morgan State coach Butch Beard said. "We were able to play with energy and make plays when we had to."

Beard went to Brand often in the second half and overtime to counter the Bulldogs' dominant inside game. Junior forward Thurman Zimmerman, the reigning MEAC Player of the Year, scored 32 points to lead all scorers, hitting 17 of 18 free throws. Beard also felt fortunate to win because the Bears continued to struggle on free throws, making 19 of 29.

"Hopefully they grew tonight because they've been so inconsistent," he said. "We feel good about what we've done but it's just one [conference game] and there are 15 more to go."

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE-Trapp 0-6 0-0 0, Zimmerman 7-12 17-18 32, Mason 6-9 3-4 16, Davis 4-6 2-2 10, Wiggins 2-2 0-0 5, Heath 1-3 3-4 6, Moore 3-6 1-3 8, Mathis 0-0 0-0 0, Dean 1-3 1-2 3. Totals 24-47 27-33 80. MORGAN STATE-Grant 2-9 8-11 12, Evans 0-2 2-2 2, Andrews 4-8 0-1 8, Mathis 2-5 2-2 6, Brand 10-15 4-7 28, Timus 3-5 2-4 8, McLean 3-4 0-0 6, Terrell 2-3 1-2 6, Lawler 1-3 0-0 3, Aujla 0-1 0-0 0, Berkley 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 30-58 19-29 85. Halftime-Morgan State, 37-33. 3-point goals-SCS 5-13 (Heath 1-1, Wiggins 1-1, Mason 1-2, Zimmerman 1-2, Moore 1-3, Davis 0-1, Trapp 0-3); MS 6-14 (Brand 4-8, Lawler 1-2, Terrell 1-2, Grant 0-1, McLean 0-1). Rebounds-SCS 33 (Zimmerman 8); MS 29 (Andrews, McLean, Timus 5). Assists-SCS 7 (Mason, Trapp 2); MS 15 (McLean 4). Total fouls-SCS 28, MS 25. Fouled out-Heath, Wiggins, Andrews. A-2,478.

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