Rebounds help Bears to bounce back, 64-60


In what was a crucial matchup to avoid a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament play-in game, Morgan State persevered and survived last night at Hill Field House.

The Bears rallied from a four-point deficit in the final minute to force overtime, rebounded fiercely on the offensive boards and outlasted Delaware State, 64-60, before a raucous home crowd of 3,622.

Playing the final 3:12 of overtime without leading rebounder Aaron Andrews, Morgan seemed to keep alive its every miss and finally prevailed by hitting five key free throws down the stretch.

With 11.9 seconds to go, freshman guard Joseph McLean made the biggest defensive play of the game, blocking an attempted three-pointer by 5-foot-6 Miles Davis that would have tied it for the Hornets, who lost their fourth in a row.

Cedrick Barrow then hit the second of two foul shots for the clinching point.

Morgan (9-12, 8-6) jumped ahead of Delaware State (8-13, 7-6) into fourth place by ending a two-game losing streak that included the squandering of a 23-point lead in its previous outing against Howard.

"If we hadn't won this one, we'd have fallen into the pits," Andrews said. "We're trying to stay out of that position. And after what happened in our last game, we needed it for self-confidence."

After missing 22 of 42 free throws against Howard, the Bears sank 10 of 14 tries in overtime against the Hornets, who beat them, 68-60, on Jan. 12.

"This was a very competitive one and we made some plays to pull it out," said Morgan coach Butch Beard. "I'm proud of the way they came back from a very tough loss."

Neither team led by more than four points in the second half or the extra period.

The Bears had a 42-29 edge in rebounding and were particularly strong after All-MEAC forward Aaron Mathews fouled out of the Hornets lineup early in overtime.

Sam Brand topped four double-figure Morgan scorers with 15 points, Andrews and Chris Grant each had 12, and McLean pitched in 11.

"This was a big game for both teams," Beard said. "I'm glad our team accepted the challenge because this [contending] is foreign territory for us."

DELAWARE STATE-Hunter 6-13 1-3 15, Hawkins 4-5 22 10, Matthews 3-7 2-4 8, Williams 3-6 3-4 10, Toth 2-5 0-0 6, Davis 2-10 3-6 8, Bluntt 1-4 0-0 3, Postell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 11-19 60. MORGAN STATE-Brand 5-11 2-2 15, Andrews 6-10 0-0 12, Barrow 3-18 3-6 9, Grant 4-11 4-6 12, McLean 4-5 2-2 11, Winkfield 1-5 1-2 4, Timus 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-63 13-20 64. Half-Morgan St., 31-27. End of regulation-52-52. 3-point goals-DS 7-28 (Toth 2-5, Hunter 2-7, Williams 1-2, Bluntt 1-4, Davis 1-8, Hawkins 0-1, Postell 0-1); MS 5-21 (Brand 3-6, McLean 1-2, Winkfield 1-4, Timus 0-1, Grant 0-3, Barrow 0-5). Fouled out-Matthews, Andrews. Rebounds-DS 29 (Matthews, Hunter 7); MS 42 (Andrews 9). Assists-DS 14 (Matthews 6); MS 12 (Barrow 6). Total fouls-DS 16; MS 19. A-3,622.

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