The month of December continues to be a cruel one for Morgqn State.
Last night, Morgan wasted a rare halftime lead and lost to Loyola of Illinois, 74-70, in a non-conference game at Hill Field House.
Since 1989, the Bears (1-6) have won only two games in December, the latest on Dec. 18, when they edged Long Island, 75-71.
Trailing by 10 with less than five minutes left, Morgan rallied to within four with 1:41 left, only to see Loyola (3-3) convert eight of nine free throws in the closing moments.
The Ramblers held a 56-55 lead midway through the second half but scored the next nine points and looked to pull away. The Bears chipped away, getting two baskets from Jarrad Smith and one from Gerald Jordan, to close the deficit to 65-61.
Morgan had a 47-40 lead early in the second half, only to see it disappear under a 10-1 Loyola run, capped by a three-pointer by Elmer Dickerson, giving the Ramblers a 50-48 lead with 9:53 left.
Terrence Hunter tied the game at 50 for Morgan with a jumper, but the Ramblers scored the next five points.
Then Morgan got sloppy with the ball, turning it over three times as Loyola built a 65-55 cushion with 4:41 remaining.
It was only the second home game of the season for the Bears, who have non-conference road visits to New Mexico State on Friday and George Mason on Sunday before opening their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule against South Carolina State Jan. 8.
The Bears opened their season at Loyola (Chic.) on Nov. 27, losing to the Rattlers, 78-76, on a pair of free throws by Dickerson with .02 seconds remaining. Morgan had rallied to tie after trailing by 13 at halftime.
The scenario was switch in the opening half last night as the Bears led 38-30, despite turning the ball over 13 times, while the Ramblers committed 10.
But Morgan hit on 15 of 31 shots in the first half, including four three-pointers. Damon Zellous Langston set the tone for the Bears, hitting a pair of three-pointers to open the scoring for Morgan.
After Loyola pulled to within 21-20, it turned the ball over in six of their next eight possessions. Morgan went on a 12-2 run, to extend its lead to 33-22 with 2:47 remaining in the half.
The Ramblers closed to within, 36-30, on a layup by Vernell Brent, but Chico Langston beat the first-half buzzer with a 17-footer for Morgan, to close the scoring.