Hampton captures MEAC as Morgan State goes cold

Pirates earn trip to NCAA Tournament with 60-55 victory

March 12, 2011|By Melinda Waldrop, Tribune Newspapers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — — Two-time defending champion Morgan State couldn't overcome a 9:30 scoring drought and fell to Hampton, 60-55, in Saturday's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship game despite 25 points from forward DeWayne Jackson.

The fourth-seeded Bears (17-14), making their fourth straight title game appearance, didn't score after Jackson's three-point play at the 16-minute mark of the second half until Larry Bastfield's jumper with 7:25 to play.

Hampton (24-8), the No. 2 seed, built a 46-37 lead during that stretch led by seven points from point guard Brandon Tunnell, who scored a career-high 20 points — 15 more than his season average.

"Sometimes the ball doesn't go in the basket," said Jackson, 9-of-19 from the floor. He was named to the all-tournament team. "We weren't worried about our offense. We were just trying to play defense."

Morgan State did that well enough, especially against first-team all-MEAC pick and tournament Most Outstanding Player Darrion Pellum, who had 12 points and was 2-of-12 from the floor. The Bears held fellow junior guard Kwame Morgan, who had just nine points a night after scoring 30 in a 85-61 semifinal victory.

Tunnell, however, scored 15 points in the second half and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the game's final 35 seconds as the Pirates went 10-of-12 from the line in the last 2:34.

"Tunnell's a good player," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. "He kind of makes them go."

Bozeman was more concerned with what he saw as an officiating bias. His team committed 24 fouls and were 16-of-20 from the line. The Bears; 6-9, 240-pound forward, Kevin Thompson, made all four of his attempts. The Pirates were whistled for 18 fouls while going 24-of-30 from the line.

"For Kevin Thompson to get four free throws is absolutely ridiculous to me," Bozeman said. "I thought we were getting the ball inside and we were getting some fouls, but obviously we didn't get the foul calls."

Bozeman had a particular problem with one official, whom he wouldn't identify.

"Every game we've had with him, we lose," Bozeman said. "He didn't even come shake my hand before the game. … I don't even have a problem with them fining me."

The Bears pulled within 48-47 on Jackson's basket with 3:35 to play, but Pellum, fouled on a 3-pointer, made all three free throws as part of his 7-for-7 night from the line.

Aric Brooks returned the favor when Hampton's Morgan fouled him on a 3 to make it 55-52 with 41 seconds left, but Tunnell answered with a pair of foul shots. Jackson's deep 3 made it 57-55 with 26 seconds to go, but Tunnell again made two free throws.

Jackson missed another 3 and Hampton forward Charles Funches was fouled on the rebound, making one free throw for the final margin. Hampton is likely headed to Dayton, Ohio, to play one of four first-round NCAA play-in games on Tuesday.

"It was a war," Hampton coach Ed Joyner said. "It was what we expected. It was the one we wanted to win. We said at the beginning of the year that if we were going to win this championship, it was going to go through Morgan."

Bowie State 79, Mansfield 59: Darren Clark scored 24 points and Travis Hyman added 21 Saturday as the Bulldogs defeated the Mountaineers in an NCAA Division II tournament matchup in West Liberty, W. Va.

Bowie State will next face Indiana University of Pennsylvania Sunday at 5 p.m.

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