Bears fade down stretch

Pirates pull away, send Morgan home

Hampton 63 Morgan State 51

College Basketball

Meac Men

March 09, 2006|By KENT BAKER | KENT BAKER,SUN REPORTER

RALEIGH, N.C. -- When Morgan State played Hampton during the regular season, the Pirates frolicked to two victories by 31 and 33 points.

It was an entirely different game at the RBC Center last night, but the Bears still couldn't find enough talent or scoring punch to overcome the difference and lost to Hampton again, 63-51, in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

Unlike the first two meetings, Morgan (4-26) made a game of this one. It led by seven points after playing a near-flawless first half and was still tied at 48 with 6 1/2 minutes to play before going cold.

Morgan had only one basket - the only one of the night by leading scorer Joe McLean - the rest of the way and went down to its seventh straight defeat.

"We gave ourselves a chance, but they played harder than we did the second half," Bears coach Butch Beard said. "We just didn't match their intensity. You can look at our record and say we're no good, but we've been through a lot of adversity and were able to win four games and compete in the first game of the MEAC tournament."

The Bears lost their first 18 games of the season, and because of academic casualties and player expulsions, were trying to get by with only six players at one point.

Hampton (13-15) was picked to finish second in the preseason MEAC poll, but has struggled as well, entering the game as a No. 6 seed with six losses in its previous seven starts.

That sort of disappointment continued through the first half, when the Pirates geared their defense to contain McLean, who had averaged 18.2 points over his past five games.

But McLean and his teammates were able to find three-point specialist Marcus Gomes four times, committed just two first-half turnovers and had Hampton playing shaky basketball with their defense.

When Gomes (17 points) picked up a fourth foul early in the second half and Tyree Spinner (11 points) fouled out with 2:22 remaining, the Bears' hopes vanished. McLean scored three points to shave the Pirates' lead to 55-51 before Hampton converted six consecutive free throws to seal the outcome.

"I feel they did a pretty good job against me," said McLean, who was held to 1-for-9 shooting from the field and eight points. "But it opened things up for Marcus."

All five Hampton starters reached double figures, including forward Jaz Cowan (McDonogh), who scored 12. Center Bruce Brown had a double double (11 points and 10 rebounds) and blocked four shots.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

MORGAN STATE-McLean 1-9 6-8 8, Gomes 5-11 2-2 17, Warfield 0-7 2-2 2, Berkley 0-2 1-4 1, Spinner 5-14 0-0 11, Lymas 0-0 0-0 0, Jenkins 1-2 1-2 3, Reed 0-1 0-0 0, Branch 1-2 0-0 2, Folayan 1-2 0-1 2, Cunningham 2-2 0-0 5. Totals 16-52 12-19 51. HAMPTON-Coleman 4-8 3-3 12, Granger 4-7 0-0 10, Woodard 3-5 8-11 16, Cowan 4-8 4-4 12, Brown 4-9 3-10 11, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, West 1-5 0-2 2, Mattox 0-0 0-0 0, L.Pehoua 0-1 0-0 0, Spencer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 18-30 63. Halftime-Morgan State 30-23. 3-point goals-Morgan State 7-19 (Gomes 5-11, Cunningham 1-1, Spinner 1-2, Warfield 0-1, Branch 0-1, Folayan 0-1, McLean 0-2), Hampton 5-13 (Woodard 2-3, Granger 2-4, Coleman 1-3, Cowan 0-1, West 0-1, Williams 0-1). Fouled out-Spinner. Rebounds-Morgan State 29 (McLean 7), Hampton 39 (Brown 10). Assists-Morgan State 10 (Warfield 4), Hampton 9 (Coleman 6). Total fouls-Morgan State 24, Hampton 16. A-n/a.

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