Rogers Barnes knew it was going to be a good afternoon when he scored Morgan State's first 16 points yesterday against North Carolina A&T;, topping his previous career high of 13 in the game's opening 13 minutes.
Barnes finished with 24 points, Reggie Holmes added 26 and the Bears were never threatened in the 73-62 victory in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup.
After Wednesday's historic win over Maryland, Morgan State kept its momentum by dominating both ends of the floor.
"I felt like I had to come out aggressive because it was a conference game," Barnes said. "I'm a senior and a captain, so I had to show my team what we had to do. Every [shot] that left my hand felt good. I was just looking for my shot."
Morgan State (7-8, 2-0 MEAC) trailed only once, 5-3 in the opening minutes, and a late three-pointer by Holmes and a layup by Rico Myles gave the Bears a 39-29 lead at halftime.
The Aggies' defense has also been solid, limiting opponents to 39.5 percent shooting from the field, but it wasn't quick enough on the perimeter to stop Morgan State's hot shooters. The Bears shot 47.2 percent in the game.
"I thought we came out a little sluggish, overlooking our opponent," Holmes said. "But we got it together toward the end. We'll come in tomorrow and ground it out in practice."
Morgan State increased the lead to 17 on a dunk by Holmes with 17:15 remaining. The Bears continued to use a tight man-to-man defense and the Aggies struggled with their shooting, making 25 of 66 (37.9 percent) from the field.
The Aggies (6-9, 1-1) cut the lead to 10 on a layup by Ed Jones (19 points) with 7:14 remaining. Morgan State, however, kept that margin until a putback by Thomas Coleman cut the lead to 65-57 with 55 seconds left.
Jermaine Bolden, who had a career high 11 assists, and Holmes then made four consecutive free throws in the final 55 seconds to seal the victory.
"Obviously, I am happy about the win because A&T; is a tough team," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said.
"I thought it was a sign of an immature team that we didn't finish. I am a body language guy, and I didn't like our body language near the end of the game, where we were not energetic."
The Bears have dominated the paint this season and rank second in the MEAC with 38.9 offensive rebounds per game. Morgan State continued that trend yesterday, out-rebounding the Aggies 41-34.