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Morgan finally wins at home, 90-80


For one night, the thrill of victory returned to Morgan State.

Frustrated all season by their inability to win at home, the Bears played a gritty, determined game to turn back Bethune-Cookman, 90-80, before 1,100 at Hill Field House.

It was Morgan's first win after eight consecutive losses on its home court, and its chances were running out quickly. Another Mid-Eastern Conference game tomorrow night against Delaware State closes the home schedule.

The victory also ended an eight-game losing streak for Morgan (4-18, 2-10), which remained in the MEAC cellar.

"We finally had a brainstorm on top of the ice storms," Bears' coach Michael Holmes said. "We've been sliding so much lately inside and out, it was time to regroup."

"Basically, we just reached a point where we had to make a turnaround," added guard Terrence Wright, who made all seven of his shots and made two clutch free throws in the stretch after going 0-for-6 from the line earlier.

"We had to start somewhere. Coach challenged everybody. At Bethune [an 88-85 loss Jan. 22] we

folded down the stretch. This time we started to fold, but held together."

Bethune-Cookman (5-16, 5-7) forced the pace and made it a freewheeling game that resulted in 56 turnovers by the teams.

The Wildcats have been the most improved team in the MEAC recently, but Morgan was having none of it.

Forward Gerald Jordan scored nine points in the first seven minutes of the second half, sparking Morgan to a 72-55 cushion.

With 8:12 left, the Bears were sailing along with a 78-64 lead, but Bethune-Cookman then launched its final charge.

During a 14-2 Wildcats run, Morgan committed nine turnovers and its lead shriveled to four (80-76) as Bethune-Cookman cashed in on the double-bonus situation from the line and Jaime Grant knocked in a big three-pointer.

But a follow shot by Brandon Battle after a miss by Wright from the foul line and Battle's short jumper off a behind-the-back pass from 350-pound Jarrad Smith restored order for the Bears.

Two free throws each by Wright and Kevin Young and a breakaway basket by Chico Langston added the icing.

"We had been winning certain situations of games, but tonight we put it all together and meshed," Holmes said. "Sometimes, you need to have a lot of patience with young people.

"We had a good talk after the last game [a loss to Florida A&M;], and this time they responded. They stepped up when they needed to and didn't fold. I'm talking about the whole team."

Bethune-Cookman led only once (12-11), but kept pushing the tempo and remained within four points at halftime by capitalizing on three-pointers and fast breaks.

Guard Lamont Parrish did the most damage with 14 first-half points, helping the Wildcats shoot 55.6 percent.

They cooled to 36.1 percent after the break, and the Bears simply got hotter, making 20 of 28 second-half shots to finish with a season-high 60.9 shooting percentage.

Jordan lead Morgan with 23 points and 11 rebounds to solidify his hold on the individual MEAC lead. Battle pitched in his second biggest offensive production of the season (21 points).

BETHUNE-COOKMAN -- Grant 2-3 4-4 9, Leonard 2-4 2-4 6, White 4-5 1-3 9, Parrish 8-17 4-5 24, Strong 3-11 0-2 8, Miller 1-2 2-6 4, Wilcox 1-3 0-0 2, Wyatt 0-2 1-2 1, Smith 1-3 1-2 3, Logan 3-9 2-4 8, Robinson 2-3 0-3 4, Young 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 28-63 17-37 80.

MORGAN STATE -- Hunter 3-6 0-0 6, Jordan 10-13 3-5 23, McCarthy 2-4 0-0 4, Langston 3-11 0-0 6, Wright 7-7 2-8 16, Young 0-1 2--2 2, Sellers 0-2 0-0 0, Deas 2-2 0-0 4, Thomas 1-1 2-2 4, Battle 9-13 1-2 21, Smith 2-4 0-2 4. Totals 39-64 10-21 90.

Halftime-- MSU 41-37. 3-point goals--BC 7-18 (Parrish 4-6, Strong 2-7, Grant 1-2, Miller 0-1, Wilcox 0-1, Wyatt 0-1); MSU 2-10 (Battle 2-6, Sellers 0-2, Hunter 0-1, Langston 0-1). Rebounds--BC 34 (Leonard 7); MSU 39 (Jordan 11). Assists--BC 11 (Grant 3); MSU 21 (Langston 8). Total fouls--BC 20; MSU 28. Fouled out--none. A--1,100.

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