No drama this time around

Nine months after last-second loss in MEAC title game, Bears run away from Eagles, contain McKee

Morgan State 62 Coppin State 48

December 07, 2008|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Special to The Baltimore Sun

This time, there was no last-second floater to win the game, no upset to win the conference title and no question which was the superior team.

Morgan State dominated crosstown rival Coppin State almost from the onset, received a strong defensive performance from Rogers Barnes, who was guarding Eagles star Tywain McKee, and romped to a 62-48 victory last night at Hill Field House in a game that was not as close as the score indicates.

Coppin State (1-4), which lost its fourth in a row, didn't lead after the early moments, McKee was held to 4-for-16 from the field and Morgan State pulled ahead by as many as 18 points (41-23 and 43-25) midway through the second half. Only a seven-point flurry by Vince Goldsberry closed the gap at the finish.

"I'm just glad we got a win," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said after his team won five days after losing at home to Saint Francis (Pa.). "We've only won three ballgames [and lost six times], so it's a start."

Bozeman downplayed the significance of Coppin State's surprising 62-60 victory in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship game nine months ago and said he "didn't even talk about that. These are not even the same teams."

That was confirmed by Barnes, who said: "We didn't really bring it up. This is a whole new season, a whole new game. You can't play that one over."

Eagles coach Fang Mitchell was less than enamored of his team's performance, only his 10th loss in 50 career games against Morgan State.

"We just played horrible," he said. "We had nobody taking charge on the floor, and everything was helter-skelter. We didn't look for each other, and it became a selfish game for us."

Desire was certainly a portion of the difference. The Bears out-rebounded the Eagles 50-33 and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds while ending a four-game skid. They also limited Coppin State to 29.8 percent shooting from the field, including 17.6 percent from three-point range.

Barnes, a senior from River Hill, said he "just tried to keep [McKee] in front of me. I would say it worked. But a lot of people were involved; it's a team assignment. People were taking charges on him, and I had a lot of help. We pride ourselves on defense."

McKee had 32 points, including the game-winner, in the MEAC title game, but finished with only 10 in both teams' MEAC opener.

"We just always wanted to be aware of McKee," Bozeman said. "He can beat you by himself."

Morgan State also delighted the announced crowd of 3,713 with thunderous dunks on breakaways, much to the chagrin of Mitchell, who said: "Todd got his guys ready, and Morgan did a good job of not allowing any easy baskets and getting some themselves on fast breaks. I'm disappointed with our performance. It was mystifying."

Reggie Holmes (St. Frances) paced the Bears' offense with 19 points, Barnes had 12 and Kevin Thompson added 10.

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