Morgan listless in loss

Setback to Hampton follows big win over Del. State

Hampton 67 Morgan State 65

February 11, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

Todd Bozeman and his Morgan State men followed the program's best win in years with their most disappointing loss of the season.

The Bears had a double-digit lead yesterday on a Hampton team that starts four freshmen, but they backed down in the second half and stumbled to a 67-65 loss with the kind of nonchalant effort that likely will get them bumped out of the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.

Morgan State had looked like a threat to make its first appearance in the NCAA Division I tournament five days earlier, when it won at MEAC leader Delaware State.

"We're still learning how to win, how to be a good team," Bozeman said. "That's a bump right there."

It was another difficult Saturday for the Bears. A week earlier, a similar last-minute loss at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., was followed by an argument at a restaurant, where Bozeman was charged with two misdemeanor offenses.

Bozeman said that he will turn himself into Virginia authorities Tuesday, when it is expected that a preliminary court date will be set on the two charges against him, first-degree assault and battery and third-degree curse and abuse.

"Contrary to popular belief, it hasn't necessarily been rough," Bozeman said. "Anytime you're falsely accused, it's unfortunate that I have to wait to get a chance to defend myself."

After blowing a chance to take sole possession of second place in the MEAC, where they had won their previous five, the Bears will look to bounce back tomorrow night against Norfolk State.

Spurred by the hustle of junior center Boubacar Coly, Morgan State (9-13, 7-4) went on an early 9-0 run and built several 10-point leads, only to see Hampton respond like a veteran team and get the game's last four points from freshman guard Rashad West.

The presumptive MEAC Rookie of the Year, who had 23 points and four assists, won it on a pair of free throws with 13.3 seconds left. The Bears could not stop his dribble penetration in the second half, when Hampton (11-12, 7-5) made 76.2 percent (16 of 21) of its field-goal attempts.

Morgan State had little of the emotion it displayed in Dover, where it limited Delaware State to 12 baskets all game.

Despite its shortcomings, Morgan State had several chances to deny Hampton a fourth straight win, as Ron Timus and Jamar Smith missed jump shots in the closing seconds that at the least would have sent it to overtime.

A crowd of 2,169 at Hill Field House included Dr. Earl Richardson, the Morgan State president, who declined to comment on Bozeman's situation.

paul.mcmullen@baltsun.com

Box score, PG 10D

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