Morgan shuts down American's long shots

Morgan State 62 American 54

November 21, 2007|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Sun

CLARIFICATION

In yesterday's Sports section, it was incorrectly stated that the Morgan State men's basketball team was seeking to qualify for its first postseason tournament. Morgan State has never qualified for the Division I tournament, but it played in the Division II tournament in the 1973-1974 season and won the championship.

Morgan State's goal is to qualify for its first postseason tournament in school history, and coach Todd Bozeman put together a tough nonconference schedule to face different styles of play.

The Bears showed in last night's 62-54 home-opener victory against American that they can match up well with a team that likes to shoot three-pointers and that their defense could be a key factor in how long they will play into March. Morgan State blocked 12 shots and held American to 32.1 percent shooting to improve to 3-1 for the first time since 1987.

"American University is a disciplined team and they are well-coached," Bozeman said. "We want to make sure we are prepared every game for whatever the other team runs. We have to be disciplined defensively and not break down."

Jamar Smith had 16 points and three blocks for Morgan State, while Reggie Holmes (St. Frances) also had 16 points and Jerrell Green (Southern) scored 10.

Both teams were sluggish early in the game, but Morgan State went on a 15-5 run late in the first half and led 25-23 at the half. Morgan State learned its lesson from last season's game against American when the Eagles shot 11-for-18 from three-point range en route to a 97-84 victory.

Last night, the Bears adjusted their perimeter defense and American made just six of 19 shots from behind the arc. American coach Jeff Jones said his team's inability to make open shots was the difference in the game, and he credited Morgan State for its defense inside the paint.

"We had a lot of opportunities, but Morgan State was the better team," Jones said. "They got big baskets when they needed them. They came up with some big defensive stops. They took away everything inside with their shot-blocking."

The Eagles (2-3) cut Morgan State's lead to 46-45 with 7:26 to play, but the Bears kept the ball away from American with their deliberate half-court offense and made four of eight free-throw attempts in the closing minute to seal the win.

AMERICAN-Simon 0-6 0-2 0, Lay 3-6 1-1 7, Guibunda 0-0 0-0 0, Mercer 6-14 0-2 13, Carr 4-14 6-6 18, Motnii 1-2 0-0 2, Gilmore 0-6 1-2 1, Borden 1-4 4-4 7, Penny 1-1 0-0 2, Nichols 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 18-56 12-17 54. MORGAN STATE-Coly 4-4 0-2 8, Kately 2-9 0-2 4, Moore 3-3 0-0 6, Green 4-7 1-2 10, Smith 5-12 6-8 16, Holmes 5-11 3-4 16, Aujla 0-0 0-0 0, Stokes 0-1 0-0 0, Hemsley 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-48 10-18 62. Halftime-Morgan State 25-23. 3-point goals-American 6-19 (Carr 4-8, Borden 1-1, Mercer 1-3, Lay 0-1, Simon 0-2, Gilmore 0-4), Morgan State 4-9 (Holmes 3-6, Green 1-1, Smith 0-2). Fouled out-Mercer. Rebounds-American 35 (Nichols 7), Morgan State 35 (Coly 9). Assists-American 5 (Mercer 3), Morgan State 9 (Kately 4). Total fouls-American 16, Morgan State 16. A-892. 350.

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