Morgan cools down, but wins again, 68-56; King steps up with 22 against Bethune-Cookman


Sixty-five points by two players can lead to wrong impressions.

Morgan State coach Chris Fuller, who had the pleasure of watching Rasheed Sparks and Jimmy Fields score 39 and 26 points, respectively, against Florida A&M;, feared the effect on his team and told them as much heading into last night's game against Bethune-Cookman.

"We didn't want to become intoxicated by what we did in the last game," Fuller said of his team's 106-point performance on Saturday.

"We talked about it and we were afraid that guys would want to replicate that, but the guys did a good job of disciplining themselves."

So on a night when Sparks and Fields couldn't make more than eight of their 24 combined shots, the team gave the ball to the next player with a hot hand, Curtis King, and King scored a career-high 22 points as the Bears (5-9, 4-2) won, 68-56, in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Gilman School.

King, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward from Philadelphia, did his damage against the Wildcats (5-9, 4-3) by hitting seven of 13 shots from the field -- mostly mid-range jumpers -- and by making eight of nine free throws.

King said the effort his teammates made to get him the ball represented a budding team chemistry that may or may not lead the Bears out of the dive that had them losing four straight games before last weekend.

"It goes back to us playing together," King said. "We're always looking for each other more now."

"They understood that [King] had the hot hand and that [Bethune-Cookman] could not defend him," Fuller said, "and they looked to get him involved."

The Bears must wait until next month to move back into their under-renovation home, Hill Fieldhouse. But Morgan proved there's nothing wrong with a borrowed home, using a late, 7-0 run to pick up its second straight win at the prep school after four straight road losses.

Morgan is now 3-0 at Gilman.

Although the Bears committed a season-low six turnovers, they shot only 41 percent from the field, which -- combined with 37 percent shooting from Bethune-Cookman -- gave the game an ugly look.

"Neither team shot the ball well," Fuller said, "but when you have two athletic teams, it's a hyper game and it looks sloppy because it's quick. But both teams played well."

Playing against one of the rising programs in the MEAC, Morgan State benefited from an uneven first half by the Wildcats and headed into the break with a 26-23 lead.

BETHUNE-COOKMAN -- McClenton 4-11 3-4 11, Ned 2-4 0-0 4, Livas 2-5 2-3 6, Cole 5-20 3-5 14, Thomas 7-11 1-2 15, King 1-2 0-0 2, Sanders 1-3 2-2 4, Lockwood 0-3 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-59 11-16 56.

MORGAN STATE -- Sparks 4-12 2-2 12, King 7-13 8-9 22, Lewis 3-6 1-2 7, Fields 4-12 4-4 12, Herron 0-3 2-4 2, Demory 0-0 0-0 0, Reece 0-0 0-0 0, McBride 0-1 0-0 0, Van Hook 3-6 3-4 9, Bullock 1-1 0-2 2, Canady 1-2 0-0 2, Qualls 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 20-27 68.

Halftime--Morgan 26-23. 3-point goals--BC 1-16 (McClenton 0-2, Livas 0-2, Cole 1-10, Lockwood 0-2); MS 2-12 (Sparks 2-5, Fields 0-3, Herron 0-1, Van Hook 0-3). Fouled out--Lockwood. Rebounds--BC 31 (Thomas 8); MS 36 (Sparks 12). Assists--BC 8 (Livas 4); MS 14 (Herron 5). Total fouls--BC 21, MS 18. A--500.

Pub Date: 1/12/99

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