SC State loses 65-62 to Morgan State

Saturday, January 20, 2007

BALTIMORE, MD – Ronald Timus connected for 16 points, including a crucial three-point play 1:24 left, and Jamar Smith added 15 points and seven rebounds to lead Morgan State to a 65-62 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win over South Carolina State Saturday.

Derrick Davis, of nearby Washington, DC, led the Bulldogs in the loss with 18 points, including a 12-14 effort from the free throw line. Brian Mason chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds, and Miller-Williams and Julius Carter contributed eight and seven points each for Coach Jamal Brown’s team.

SC State, which was trying to win only its second road game, fell to 6-11 overall and 4-3 in the MEAC, while Morgan State improved to 5-11 on the season and 3-3 in league play.

The Bulldogs, who trailed 28-24 at the half, dropped behind by 10 early in the second half when Tim Berkeley’s dunk off an ally oop pass gave the host a 38-28 edge with 15:31 to play.

SC State reserve guard Thomas Bookman connected on one of this two baskets from behind the arc one minute later to ignite an 18-6 run that put the Bulldogs ahead 46-44 at the 8:37 mark.

Smith’s short jumper pulled the Bears into a 46-all deadlock moments later, however, Davis completed the first of back-to-back three point plays the old fashion way to give Brown’s team a 49-46 cushion with 6:56 showing. Following a layup by the Bear’s Joseph McLean at the 6:13 mark, which sliced the SC State lead to one, Davis got his second three-point play for a 52-48 Bulldog advantage with 5:43 on the clock.

Morgan, behind consecutive baskets by Roger Barnes and Jerrel Green, came back to tie at 52-52 at the 4:52 mark.
SC State had a chance to regain the lead on its next trip down, but Mason missed two free throws. The Bears took advantage of the miss on the other end when Barnes completed a four-point play when he nailed a 3-pointer and was fouled and converted the free throw for a 56-52 with 3:18.

The Bulldogs managed to tie it at 56-all when Carter got two free throws and Mason a follow shot with 2:05 left.
But things deteriorated from there for S.C. State as Timus grabbed a missed shot and put it back and was fouled, completing a three-point play for a 59-56 Morgan lead. Two straight SC State turnovers led to two Bear free throws and a 61-56 lead, and the closer the Bulldogs came after that was 61-60, but Morgan made four straight free throws to hold on for the win.

A disappointed Brown said the loss was a crucial setback for his team, which must now fight for its life to try and stay in the MEAC chase.

“The loss is pretty devastating,” Brown said. “We really had a chance to give our team a little breathing room, but instead, we let a winnable game get away.

“I like the fact that we battled back from a 10-point deficit in the second half,” he continued, “but when we had a chance to put the game away, we missed crucial free throws or turned the ball over.

“We also didn’t do a good job on defense in the second half. Morgan made almost 55 percent of its shots from the field. We are not good enough on offense to allow a team to shoot 55 percent against us.

“Monday’s game (against Coppin State) is really a big game now. We have to have that game in order to stay above water.”

The Coppin game is the final contest in a four-game MEAC road swing for the Bulldogs. The game gets underway at7:30 and will follow the women’s contest between the two teams which starts at 5:30 p.m.