Morgan State's dry spell against Delaware State is over.
Ending three years of futility, Morgan broke a seven-game losing streak against Delaware State last night with an 80-78 overtime victory before 1,887 at Hill Field House.
It marked Morgan's second straight win, following Saturday night's victory over Bethune-Cookman, and brought some of the overjoyed fans onto the court to embrace the players.
It was Morgan's first win over the Hornets since 1989, also at Hill Field House. The Bears won that one by a point.
Morgan, which lost to Delaware State, 99-81, Jan. 13, got a game-high 28 points from freshman guard Obadiah Johnson.
Johnson saved his last two points for overtime, but Charles Feagin's basket with 1:44 left gave Morgan (4-19, 4-8 MEAC) a three-point edge that was enough. Kareem Allen hit a free throw with 11 seconds remaining for Delaware State's final gasp.
The game was tied at 73 at the end of regulation. The Bears had made up an 11-point halftime deficit and, at one point, taken a 57-54 lead on Brandon Parker's three-pointer with nine minutes left.
From then on, the teams were separated by no more than four points.
"The turning point was the second half," said Morgan coach Michael Holmes. "We worked harder for opportunities, using our minds as well as our bodies."
Holmes shudders to think where the team would be without Johnson in the last two games. Johnson scored 25 against Bethune-Cookman before his career-high 28 last night.
"He could have had 40," Holmes said. "He missed about six right under the basket."
Johnson, a 6-foot-3 guard, came to Morgan from Largo High. Holmes first signed Robert Holmes (no relation) of Largo High during the fall 1990 signing period; to his delight, Johnson followed last spring.
Johnson, who has been Morgan's high scorer eight times, has yet to start a game. Holmes feels the freshman is more effective coming off the bench at this stage of his career.
Despite not starting, Johnson averages 25 minutes and leads the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and assists (2.6).
Jarrad Smith, a 6-11, 300-pound freshman center, started the game for Morgan, but was yanked by Holmes and spent the second half in street clothes on the sideline opposite the Morgan bench, leading cheers. He played only three minutes and missed all three of his first-half shots.
"We held him out for disciplinary reasons," Holmes said, refusing to elaborate.
Delaware State (11-12, 8-4), which came into the game in second place in the MEAC a half-game behind Howard, was led by Tyrone Boger with 20 points. The only players in double figures for Morgan besides Johnson were Brandon Parker (15) and Feagin (11).
Morgan is idle until Saturday when it travels to South Carolina State for another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.