By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
8:00 AM EST, January 17, 2014
The Morgan State men’s basketball team’s bid for a 3-0 start in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will unfold Saturday, but it won’t be easy.
Norfolk State, which will host the Bears (4-10 overall and 2-0 in the league), is 10-7 overall, but sits atop the conference with a perfect 4-0 record. Saturday’s contest pits two of the MEAC’s four undefeated teams (Hampton and Savannah State at 3-0 each are the other two) against each other, but Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said every league game is crucial.
“It would be important no matter who we’re playing,” he said Thursday. “Whether we were playing them or not, you want to do well in your conference, and conference games add another level of importance. So they all are important.”
The Spartans, who won last year’s regular-season title and have won 23 straight MEAC contests, pose a significant challenge to the Bears. Norfolk State leads the conference in scoring (77.9 points per game), field-goal percentage (48.8 percent on 476-of-975 shooting) and three-point field-goal percentage (34.8 percent on 92-of-264 shooting).
Bozeman sounded well aware of the Spartans’ strength.
“Norfolk State won the regular season last year and didn’t win it in the tournament, but they’re a team that has for the last couple years been out in front,” he said. “They’ve set the tone for the last couple years. They do a good job, they have good players, they have returning guys. They still have guys that went to the tournament. We’re looking forward to the game, and we’re treating it like the game we just played.”
Morgan State has dropped the last six meetings with Norfolk State, which might be a motivational tool for everyone – but Bozeman.
“It’s not for me because our goal is to continue to get better, do well in the conference, put ourselves in a good position for a good seed and then win the tournament,” he said. “That’s been the goal. Individual matchups and team matchups aren’t as important as making sure that you put yourself in the proper position for postseason play.”
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