The last time Morgan State's basketball team won a game, it was still officially autumn and the Bears were in the sunny South where it seemed like summer.
That victory on Dec. 4 in Daytona Beach, Fla., came against Bethune-Cookman, which came to Hill Field House for the return game last night. The Wildcats played victim again as Morgan ended a 14-game losing streak with a 72-60 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference triumph.
"It's been a long time. We don't even know what it feels like to win one anymore. We've been traumatized," said Bears coach Chris Fuller. "We all needed this one."
Morgan (3-16, 2-9 MEAC) seemed en route to a blowout early, flashing away to a 19-4 advantage while the Wildcats went 0-for-7 from the field and committed four turnovers.
But Bethune-Cookman fought back little by little, principally on the three-point shooting of Derricus Lockwood (21 points), and forged in front with 7:39 remaining when Lockwood drilled his fifth three-pointer, 54-51.
That was the end of the surge, however, as the Bears outscored Bethune-Cookman 21-6 the rest of the way to end the second-longest losing streak in school history. It was also Morgan's first home win of the season.
Anton Jenifer (Walbrook), who missed the Bears' last game because of a disciplinary suspension, returned with a flair, scoring the team's final 12 points and 15 of the last 17 while shooting 8-for-10 from the free-throw line.
"We're definitely a better team with him in there," Fuller said of Jenifer. "He can do a lot of things."
Another stalwart for Morgan was senior center Michael Canady, who turned in one of the best all-around games of his career with 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals. He dominated the smaller Wildcats inside.
"Their biggest man was like 6-7 or 6-8, so I was able to get in the post and get my drop-step or my hook," said the 6-foot-11 Canady, who played 38 minutes. "This was a very important game for us. We needed one to wake up. The Bears have been in hibernation. Now, we're ready to move on."
Canady was particularly instrumental in Morgan pressing ahead early, packing eight points into the run that produced a 15-point lead before Bethune-Cookman (6-14, 3-9) managed to get settled in. He also led the fast break several times after the Wildcats double-teamed the Morgan guards.
It was a game of zone vs. zone, and Morgan was particularly effective until late in the first half, when Lockwood began warming up.
"We played zone because it's tough to defend smaller, quick players like they've got," Fuller said.
"You know Fang [Mitchell, Coppin State coach] and [Towson coach] Mike Jaskulski called me and told me to keep my head up. I really appreciated that."
The Bears finished with 50 percent shooting and a 36-22 advantage on the boards. They now need only one more victory to avoid matching the worst season in their history (3-25 in 1984-85).
BETHUNE-COOKMAN-Cox 1-2 0-0 2, Lauder 1-4 0-0 3, Larmond 4-9 2-2 10, Lockwood 7-13 2-2 21, Nicholson 2-4 2-3 6, King 0-0 0-0 0, Cage 0-0 0-0 0, O'Banner 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 5-13 3-4 14, Jer.Daniels 0-0 0-0 0, Jes.Daniels 1-1 0-0 2, Kelly 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-47 9-11 60.
MORGAN STATE-Winfield 0-6 0-0 0, Barrow 4-6 2-2 11, Dukes 1-5 0-0 2, King 5-8 1-2 11, Canady 7-10 2-5 16, McNeill 1-1 0-0 2, Reece 3-4 1-2 7, Jenifer 4-9 13-15 21, Patrick 0-0 0-0 0, Frederick 0-1 2-4 2, Lee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-50 21-30 72.
Half: Morgan State, 31-26. 3-point goals: BC 7-12 (Lockwood 5-8, Harris 1-1, Lauder 1-2, Larmond 0-1); MS 1-10 (Barrow 1-2, Jenifer 0-2, Dukes 0-3, Winfield 0-3). Rebounds: BC 22 (Nicholson 4); MS 36 (Canady 12). Assists: BC 5 (Cox, Harris, Kelly, King, Lauder); MS 9 (Barrow, Canady, Dukes 3). Total fouls: BC 25, MS 14. A: 2,422.