Holmes, Smith lift Morgan State

Morgan State 93 La Salle 87

December 09, 2007|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,Special to The Sun

Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said the Bears are going through a tough patch with starting point guard Jerrell Green injured. The way the Bears played for the first 38 minutes of yesterday's game, you would have thought they never missed him.

Sophomore point guard Reggie Holmes (St. Frances) scored 26 points and senior guard Jamar Smith added 25 as the Bears defeated La Salle, 93-87, at Hill Field House yesterday.

The Bears (5-4) turned up their defensive pressure just before halftime to build a small lead, and then extended it early in the second half.

With Green out, Bozeman asked Holmes to take a greater role in the offense. He responded yesterday.

"I wasn't worried about everything else, I just wanted us to get above .500," Holmes said. "I like having a bigger role in the offense, but I just want us to win."

Said Bozeman: "We're learning some things on the fly. We need to be smarter with the ball, but we'll be a better team if we can get through this and get Jerrell back."

The teams played evenly for the first 18 minutes, before Morgan got five points from Holmes during an 8-0 run to break a 32-32 tie and end the half up 40-32.

The Explorers (3-4) cut the lead to 44-40 with 15:49 left. Morgan responded, getting three-pointers on back-to-back plays from Marquise Kately and Karanvir Aujla to extend the lead to 50-40 with 13:11.

The Bears stretched the lead to 19 at 83-64 with 2:21 left. La Salle used the three-point shooting of Darnell Harris (St. Frances), who scored 14 of his 25 points in the final 1:38, to cut the deficit to six.

Bozeman said was happy with his team's effort, but didn't like seeing them let La Salle go on that late run.

"I'm looking for growth," Bozeman said. "We've grown a lot, but we can't let teams back in the game like that."

Smith thinks the Bears will be a better team if they can survive until Green returns.

"It's hard playing with our point guard, but Marquise did a good job for us tonight," Smith said. "I guess we did a little too much celebrating at the end and lost our focus a bit, but we won the game. In the end, that's all that matters."

LA SALLE-Mekongo-Mbala 5-7 1-1 11, J.Williams 1-3 0-3 2, Johnson 4-7 1-1 9, Green 5-13 2-3 12, Harris 8-16 2-5 25, Griffin 0-2 0-0 0, Diaz 4-7 1-1 9, Barrett 2-3 1-1 5, T.Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Guillandeaux 5-9 0-1 12. Totals 35-69 8-16 87. MORGAN STATE-Coly 6-11 3-5 15, Hemsley 0-1 0-0 0, Holmes 5-9 14-16 26, Kately 5-9 2-6 14, Smith 12-20 1-2 25, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Aujla 4-6 4-5 13, Stokes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-56 24-34 93. Half-Morgan State, 40-32. 3-point goals-La Salle 9-23 (Harris 7-13, Guillandeaux 2-4, Diaz 0-1, Griffin 0-1, Mekongo-Mbala 0-1, Green 0-3), Morgan St. 5-10 (Kately 2-2, Holmes 2-4, Aujla 1-2, Smith 0-2). Fouled out-Harris, Smith. Rebounds-La Salle 31 (Mekongo-Mbala 11), Morgan St. 34 (Holmes 9). Assists-La Salle 17 (Guillandeaux 6), Morgan St. 9 (Kately 3). Total fouls-La Salle 25, Morgan St. 19. A-973.

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