Morgan stands tall against short-handed Howard, 81-66

Bears capitalize as Bison miss two leading scorers

February 13, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

In its effort to avoid the play-in round of the upcoming Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, Morgan State took another step forward last night at Hill Field House.

The Bears pulled away in the second half and dominated a short-handed Howard team, 81-66, raising their home record to 8-1 and, more importantly, remaining firmly in the race to finish fifth or better in the regular-season league standings.

"It's very important to avoid that floor at Arthur Ashe [Center in Richmond, Va., site of the early-round games]," said Morgan center Aaron Andrews, who posted a double double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. "I hate it there because it hurts your knees and you're tired the next day."

Morgan (10-13, 8-5) has five MEAC games remaining, including two in Florida, two at home and one at Coppin State. By winning at least two of those, it will probably head directly for the Richmond Coliseum for the tournament quarterfinals.

"I'm trying to get to fourth [place]," said coach Butch Beard. "The only way to do that is win. Right now we're playing pretty good. I'm pleased with some of the things we do."

Howard (5-16, 2-10) has dropped 10 in a row since losing point guard Louis Ford to what coach Frankie Allen called "personal problems."

Last night, Howard also played without swingman Cliffone Ault because of a "personal issue."

"He should be back soon," Allen said. Ford and Ault are the team's top two scorers.

"Our kids gave as good an effort as they can, but Morgan's pressure was pretty effective the first half. When Ford's not out there, we just don't have the right pieces."

The hot shooting of Will Gant (game-high 25 points) kept the Bison in the hunt before the Bears began asserting themselves and pulled away by as many as 18 late in the game.

Ron Timus continued his stellar play of late with 17 points and Sam Brand (Poly) contributed 13 for Morgan, which has won three straight and seven of its past nine.

HOWARD - Nickleson 2-3, 0-0 4, Hudson 0-4 0-1 0, Trotter 0-4 3-4 3, Mitchell 3-9 2-2 11, Grant 10-15 1-4 25, Greene 2-4 1-2 5, Murphy 2-7 0-0 5, Blanden 3-8 4-5 10, Bates 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 23-58 11-18 66. MORGAN STATE - Berkley 2-3 0-0 4, Andrews 9-13 1-3 19, Mathis 3-7 0-0 6, Grant 2-6 2-2 6, Brand 2-7 7-10 13, Timus 5-8 7-8 17, McLean 2-4 3-4 7, Terrell 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-1 0-0 0, Lawler 1-2 2-2 4, Aujla 2-3 0-0 4, Warfield 0-0 1-2 1, Phillips 0-1 0-0 0, McIver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-56 23-31 81. Halftime - Morgan State, 38-35. 3-point goals - Howard 9-26 (Hudson 0-1, Mitchell 3-8, Grant 4-7, Greene 0-2, Murphy 1-4, Blanden 0-2, Bates 1-2); Maryland 2-8 (Mathis 0-1, Brand 2-5, McLean 0-1, Aujla 0-1). Fouled out - Mitchell. Rebounds - Howard 32 (Trotter 7); Morgan State 40 (Andrews 12); Assists - Howard 7 (Hudson 5); Morgan State 15 (Lawler 5). Total fouls -Howard 21; Morgan State 19. A - 2,876.

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