Thursday, March 08, 2007
RALEIGH, NC – Fourth-seeded South Carolina State will begin its quest for its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title since 2003 when the Bulldogs take on Morgan State, the fifth seed, Thursday in first-round action of the MEAC Tournament at the RBC Center.
Coach Jamal Brown’s team (13-16) and the Bears (12-17) were two of five teams that finished the season in a five-way tie for third place in the MEAC standings.
North Carolina A&T, Norfolk and Hampton were the other three, with the Aggies earning the third seed, Norfolk State the sixth seed and Hampton the seventh seed.
SC State and Morgan split their series this season with the Bears winning a close 65-62 contest at Baltimore and the Bulldogs taking a 70-56 triumph in Orangeburg.
The two teams have met nine previous times in the MEAC tournament – five times in first-round games and four times in the semifinals. The Bears hold a 3-2 advantage in first-round meetings, while the Bulldogs are 3-1 in semifinal encounters. The two teams have never met in the title game.
The last tournament meeting between Morgan State and SC State was in 1998 when the Bulldogs, under then-Bulldog head coach Cy Alexander -- now the head coach at Tennessee State -- defeated the Bears 82-69 in the semifinals before going on to capture the championship with a 66-61 triumph over Coppin State. Current SC State head coach Jamal Brown was an assistant under Alexander that season.
The Bulldogs have won their first-round games in the tournament the last two seasons, but were eliminated in the semifinals each year by Delaware State, who went on to capture the 2005 title but lost last year to a surprising Hampton team.
Leading Thursday’s charge for the Bulldogs will be seniors Brian Mason (12.9 ppg, 6 rpg) and Travis Jones (12.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg).
Morgan State will rely on senior Ron Timus (14.9 ppg, 5.2) and transfer Jamar Smith (12.6, 4.9 rpg).