In the locker room after the game, Bozeman told his players that he was proud of their efforts in starting conference play with a victory, and informed them of Cooper's accusation. the accusation by Cooper. He said that he apologized to Bastfield for his aggressive manner, and that some thought he had hit the player.

Bastfield said that he didn't think much about it until he went to the bus taking the players from Orangeburg, S.C., to Savannah, Ga., for Monday's game. Before he got on the bus, two campus police officers asked if he wanted to press charges against Bozeman.

"They said they were told he hit me in the face," said Bastfield, a Towson Catholic graduate who is in his second year at Morgan after starting his college career at Toledo. "I told him that he accidently bumped me in the chest. It was something that happens in the heat of the game."

Bozeman said that given his size -- "I'm 6-5, 240" -- that he would have "left a mark" on the 5-11, 205-pound Bastfield if he had struck the player. Bozeman admitted that he is "an emotional guy when I'm coaching," but said that he has never struck a player in his coaching career.

This was not the first time fans attending a Morgan State road game expressed their displeasure with his coaching style, Bozeman said. But he said that fans have also told him that they could see the way "I hug my players or dance with them" after winning the Mid-Eastern Conference title three years ago.

Bozeman said that he spoke with Kerr, who was called by Cooper, immediately after the game to assure the longtime athletic director that his actions were misrepresented. Neither Kerr nor Copper could not be reached for comment Sunday night.

Not only has Bozeman resurrected the Bears in his six years as coach, taking the team to the NCAA tournament twice, but he also revived his own career. Once considered an up-and-coming star while coaching the likes of Jason Kidd at Cal, Bozeman's career was derailed when the Golden Bears were placed on probation amid charges that he paid $30,000 to the parents of a recruit.

Bozeman was out of college coaching for a decade as a result of a show-cause order by the NCAA, meaning that a school that hired Bozeman during that period of time would be subject to sanctions. In 2007, Bozeman was charged with assaulting a female worker at a restaurant in Longwood, Va., after a game, but the charged was later dropped when the coach apologized.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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