Morgan, Bozeman triumph

Previously winless Bears celebrate coach's first victory in 10 years

Morgan State 86 Coppin State 82

December 07, 2006|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

Todd Bozeman didn't dash around, looking for someone to hug.

His players were equally subdued, and it was clear that previously winless Morgan State considered last night's 86-82 victory over Coppin State as the first in a series of many to come.

"Coach `Boze' has instilled that in us from Day One, carry yourself a certain way," said senior guard Joe McLean, one of five Bears to score in double figures. "We kept our poise upstairs. Downstairs, in the locker room, we let it all out."

Boubacar Coly's go-ahead jump shot with 42 seconds remaining secured Bozeman's first win since March 3, 1996, when his California team beat Stanford. A pay-for-play scandal cost him that job and kept him out of the college game until Morgan State took a chance on Bozeman last spring.

"They jumped me in the locker room, and I appreciate that," Bozeman said. "I told them to enjoy it, but it's not like we won a championship. We won a conference game. That's good, but it's not a one-game deal."

The opponent made the occasion all the sweeter. Coppin State (2-7, 0-1) returns all but one of the players who went 12-6 in MEAC play last year and had beaten the Bears in 13 of their previous 14 meetings.

Hill Field House had a crowd of 4,065, but this was no home-floor fluke, as the Bears bore no resemblance to the program that has long been a bottom-feeder in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Forward Ronald Timus had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and typified the hustle that allowed Morgan State (1-6, 1-0) to out-rebound Coppin 46-29 and repeatedly beat the Eagles in transition.

Freshman Reggie Holmes (St. Frances), the main reason the Bears made 57.7 percent of their field-goal attempts in the second half, came off the bench with 18 points, including five three-pointers. Junior college transfer Jerrel Green (Southern) had 14 assists, breaking the single-game school record set in 1976 by Billy Newton.

Most vitally, the Bears kept their cool after blowing an 11-point lead.

Coly's follow gave them a 72-61 lead with seven minutes remaining. They didn't get another field goal until the last minute, when Coly took Ethan Kennedy off the dribble from the free-throw line and pulled back on the right side for the winning 12-footer.

Ruben Britt's three had given Coppin its final lead, but Tywain McKee brought the Eagles back by cramming 13 of his game-high 26 points into two minutes. He fouled out two of the first four Bears who checked him. Resourceful to the end, Bozeman went box and one, with 5-foot-7 Demetrius Branch keeping McKee scoreless in the last five minutes.

"I don't ever recall, in my history, scoring 82 points and losing," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said. "We have to do a better job defensively. We have to learn how to stop people and rebound the basketball."

COPPIN STATE-Harrison 6-8 4-6 16, Pressey 6-12 1-4 13, Roberts 2-3 2-2 6, McKee 8-25 9-9 26, Woodlin 1-4 0-0 2, Britt 1-1 0-0 3, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Norwood Jr. 1-3 0-0 2, Conyers 2-5 0-0 5, Chesnut 1-2 0-0 2, Kennedy 3-6 0-2 7. Totals 31-69 16-23 82. MORGAN STATE-Timus 7-11 5-10 19, Smith 5-9 4-6 15, Coly 3-4 4-4 10, Green 2-4 0-1 4, McLean 4-8 3-4 13, Branch 0-1 0-0 0, Holmes 6-15 1-1 18, Barnes 1-1 2-2 5, Berkley 1-2 0-0 2, Moore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-55 19-28 86.

Halftime-Morgan State 36-35. 3-point goals-Coppin 4-16 (Britt 1-1, Conyers 1-2, Kennedy 1-4, McKee 1-7, Woodlin 0-1, Norwood Jr. 0-1), Morgan 9-19 (Holmes 5-10, McLean 2-4, Barnes 1-1, Smith 1-2, Branch 0-1, Green 0-1). Fouled out-Barnes, Green, Harrison, Pressey. Rebounds-Coppin 29 (McKee 7), Morgan 46 (Coly 11). Assists-Coppin 13 (Roberts 5), Morgan 20 (Green 14). Total fouls-Coppin 22, Morgan 23. A-4,065.

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