Morgan men await Coppin again after bouncing UMES

Bears top Hawks, 77-56, get Eagles in quarterfinals

College Basketball

March 08, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. - The last thing Morgan State men's basketball coach Butch Beard wanted was for his team to be required to play an early-round game in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Arthur Ashe Center.

But, because of the MEAC's quirky seeding procedure, that's exactly what he got by landing in the No. 6 seeding despite an 11-7 league record that tied two other teams for fourth place and last Saturday's upset win at Coppin State that knocked the Eagles out of the No. 1 seed.

So yesterday the Bears warmed up for Thursday's rematch with their area rivals by ousting the state's third representative, last-place Maryland-Eastern Shore, 77-56, in a game that was tougher than the score indicates.

UMES, which ended with a 2-26 record, stayed in contention with Morgan for nearly 30 minutes before suffering a seventh consecutive defeat as the Bears pulled away down the stretch.

"I thought Eastern Shore did a good job of putting pressure on us. They might have caught us by surprise," said Beard. "But then we got going with the way we have to play. It looks helter-skelter, but we have to press and turn people over."

"We threw the kitchen sink at them, the cars, the dogs, everything," said UMES coach Larry Lessett. "Even with our record we came in and played. I've never been prouder of a team."

The Hawks took a 30-29 lead on two free throws by guard Corey Brown (career-high 30 points) and were within four points when Morgan went on a run fueled by Chris Grant's two three-pointers. The difference quickly grew to 20 and Morgan (14-15) was ahead, 75-48, when Beard cleared his bench.

"We play like we did in the first half against anybody else and we get beat by 20," said Bears center Aaron Andrews, who had his eighth double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and also pitched in with eight assists. "They were playing with a lot of emotion and came at us with more intensity than we had."

Sam Brand led the Bears with 18 points, Grant finished with 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds and point guard Tim Mathis added 11 points. Morgan shot 65.5 percent in the second half in its third decisive victory over the Hawks.

Brand said Morgan might have been a little flat after that rousing victory at Coppin.

"That was more than a physical game, it was emotion against a team that had dominated us for so long," he said.

So Morgan-Coppin II arrives with the prospect it will be every bit as thrilling as last year's 68-65 double-overtime Eagle victory.

"It doesn't matter to me who we play," said Andrews. "This year, it's anybody's tournament." And this year, Morgan has more than one day to rest and prepare.

"In two days, we should be able to have our legs," said Beard. "We will have the ability to recover."

UMES-Samabaly 0-7 0-0 0, Brown 10-17 6-9 30, Leak 2-8 2-4 6, Dowling 3-11 0-1 8, Parham 3-8 2-6 8, Brookins 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 0-1 0-1 0, Robinson 2-3 0-0 4, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Kallman 0-0 0-0 0, Cohen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 10-21 56. MORGAN STATE-Mathis 5-8 0-4 11, Grant 5-8 2-4 14, Brand 6-11 2-2 18, Berkley 4-6 0-0 8, Andrews 5-7 2-5 12, Timus 3-5 0-0 6, McLean 1-3 0-0 2, Terrell 0-0 0-0 0, Evans 0-2 0-0 0, Lawler 0-2 0-0 0, Aujla 2-4 0-0 4, Warfield 0-1 1-2 1, Bran.Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, McIver 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 31-58 8-19 77. Halftime-Morgan St. 27-25. 3-point goals-UMES 6-20 (Brown 4-7, Dowling 2-6, Harris 0-1, Leak 0-1, Davis 0-2, Samabaly 0-3), Morgan St. 7-15 (Brand 4-7, Grant 2-3, Mathis 1-1, Lawler 0-1, McLean 0-1, Aujla 0-2). Fouled out-Dowling. Rebounds-UMES 38 (Parham 11), Morgan St. 41 (Andrews 11). Assists-UMES 7 (Samabaly 3), Morgan St. 24 (Grant 9). Total fouls-UMES 20, Morgan St. 19. Technicals-Morgan St. Team. A-300.

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