Morgan State `D' stymies A&M

Bears lock up win despite shooting 18-for-52 from field

Morgan State 57 Florida A&M 41

January 20, 2008|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Sun

Morgan State's defense was nearly impenetrable for much of yesterday's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game against visiting Florida A&M.

The Bears cut off passing lanes, forced bad shots and grabbed about every rebound in sight during the first half, holding the Rattlers without a field goal for the first 15 minutes, 30 seconds.

Despite rocky shooting of their own, it was all the advantage they needed in a 57-41 win that evened their record at 8-8 (3-1 MEAC) and broke a four-game losing streak against A&M.

"These past couple days, we really worked on our plays and pretty much knew everything they were going to do," Bears center Boubacar Coly said. "All of our emphasis is on defense, because we know that's the only way we're going to win our games."

The 6-foot-9 Coly scored just five points, but grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds to go with five blocks. Guard Jerrell Green led Morgan with 15 points, including 10-for-12 from the foul line.

Forward Joe Ballard scored eight points to lead the Rattlers, who entered the game leading the MEAC in three-pointers made but finished just 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

The Bears surrendered the fewest points they've allowed in a game all season. It was their 35 percent shooting (18-for-52) and 21 turnovers, however, that concerned coach Todd Bozeman.

"You've got to have better focus," Bozeman said. "I'm pushing for consistency. The defensive effort was there, but our focus and our concentration wasn't, and we weren't crisp enough on offense."

Florida A&M (5-11, 1-3) struggled mightily from the field from the outset, misfiring on its first 10 shots and also committing 11 turnovers in that span.

Racked by atrocious shooting of its own, however, Morgan never fully capitalized.

The Bears made just three of their first 21 shots, including Karanvir Aujla's three-pointer that extended their lead to 11-3 with just over eight minutes left in the first half.

Morgan extended its lead to as many as 14 before halftime, but never fully pulled away, despite the Rattlers' 3-for-19 shooting and 13 turnovers in the half.

"We're getting opportunities, but sometimes we're taking bad shots," Bozeman said. "It's something that we've just got to keep working at. It's a work in progress."

FLORIDA A&M--Ballard 3-9 2-8 8, Akini 1-8 5-10 7, Twitty 2-5 3-5 7, Taylor 1-2 0-0 2, Robinson 1-7 1-2 3, Mason 1-2 2-2 4, Maul 1-2 0-0 3, Bell 1-1 0-2 2, Demps 0-1 1-2 1, Jackson 1-7 2-2 4. Totals 12-44 16-33 41. MORGAN STATE--Coly 1-5 3-4 5, Kately 3-5 1-2 7, Hemsley 0-1 1-2 1, Green 2-4 10-12 15, Smith 3-7 0-1 7, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Bolden 2-8 0-0 4, Holmes 2-6 0-0 6, Scott 0-0 0-0 0, Barnes 2-9 0-1 4, Aujla 3-7 0-0 8, Stokes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-52 15-22 57. Half: Morgan State, 24-12. 3-point goals: FAM 1-9 (Maul 1-1, Twitty 0-1, Ballard 0-1, Mason 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Robinson 0-4); MS 6-18 (Holmes 2-4, Aujla 2-6, Smith 1-1, Green 1-2, Bolden 0-1, Barnes 0-4). Fouled out: Stokes. Rebounds: FAM 34 (Akini, Ballard 8); MS 44 (Coly 19). Assists: FAM 4 (Ballard 3); MS 11 (Bolden 7). Total fouls: FAM 18, MS 23. A: 1,739.

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