Morgan rallies in 2nd half to overtake UMBC

Bears switch to zone play, beat Retrievers 72-57

  • Morgan State's Ameer Ali rises for his shot during the Bears' second-half comeback.
Morgan State's Ameer Ali rises for his shot during the… (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina…)
November 16, 2009|By Todd Karpovich | Special to The Baltimore Sun

With UMBC leading by 18 points early in the second half, Morgan State's Reggie Holmes simply decided it was time for him to take over the game and spoil the Retrievers' season opener.

Holmes scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, and fueled a decisive 19-0 run that helped the Bears pull out a 72-57 victory Sunday before an announced 2,440 at RAC Arena. The Bears, two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions, were able to overcome early shooting woes and improved to 2-0 with both victories against opponents from America East.

"I said to my team at halftime that we were not losing this game," said Holmes, a St. Frances alumnus and one of five Bears from the Baltimore area. "I like taking big shots. I hate losing, basically."

Troy Smith (Douglass) scored 11 points, Kevin Thompson (Walbrook) added 10 and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Rodney Stokes (Old Mill) had seven blocks for Morgan State. Matt Spadafora scored 12 for UMBC, and Chauncey Gilliam added 11.

A layup by Gilliam (Hammond) gave UMBC its biggest lead, 42-24, with 17:15 left in the second half. The Bears, however, switched to a zone defense, and they picked up the pace offensively. Morgan State also went to the zone to protect Holmes and Thompson from picking up more fouls after each had three.

"When Morgan decided to go zone, we looked like we never saw zone before," UMBC coach Randy Monroe said. "We have a zone offense and we were looking to execute that. We just didn't do a good enough job of that. We have to move better."

Holmes, the Bears' leading scorer last season with 16.8 points per game, scored just four points in the first half, but he came alive just as the game appeared lost. Holmes scored 13 points, including 10 consecutive, in a 19-0 run, and Morgan State took its first lead, 43-42, with 12:09 remaining.

With UMBC trying desperately to make a run, Holmes struck again three minutes later when he was fouled after making another 3-pointer and his ensuing free throw gave the Bears a 59-51 lead with 5:34 left. UMBC never threatened the rest of the way.

The Bears converted just six of 27 field-goal tries (22.2 percent) in the first half. A jumper by Spadafora with seven seconds left gave UMBC a 34-22 lead at the break. However, Morgan State outscored UMBC 50-23 in the second half.

"It was two different halves for us," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. "I was really disappointed in my team at halftime. We just kind of lost our way. We didn't focus, and sometimes that happens when you are growing as a team. They have to find their own way, and that is what they did."

MORGAN ST. 72, UMBC 57

MORGAN ST.-Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Long 0-0 0-0 0, Stokes 2-5 2-2 6, D.Smith 1-2 1-2 4, Holmes 6-16 8-9 23, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 0-1 6-6 6, Davis 1-10 4-4 6, T.Smith 5-10 1-2 11, Thompson 3-6 4-9 10, Ali 2-4 2-3 6, Foote 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 28-37 72.UMBC-Jackson 2-6 3-6 7, De La Rosa 2-9 2-3 6, Satchell 4-7 1-3 9, Spadafora 5-12 2-4 12, Gilliam 4-10 3-3 11, Smith 0-0 2-2 2, Groce 0-2 0-0 0, Grant 2-6 0-0 6, Neller 1-8 1-2 4, Wasco 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-62 14-23 57.Halftime-UMBC 34-22. 3-point goals-Morgan St. 4-14 (Holmes 3-7, D.Smith 1-1, Jackson 0-1, T.Smith 0-1, Davis 0-4), UMBC 3-21 (Grant 2-4, Neller 1-8, Groce 0-1, Spadafora 0-2, De La Rosa 0-2, Gilliam 0-4). Fouled out-Grant, Wasco. Rebounds-Morgan St. 48 (Thompson 10), UMBC 40 (Satchell 10). Assists-Morgan St. 8 (T.Smith 3), UMBC 9 (De La Rosa 5). Total fouls-Morgan St. 19, UMBC 28. A-2,440.

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