De’Torrion Ware scored 35 points to lead the Morgan State men’s basketball team to a 77-75 come-from-behind win over Florida A&M on Thursday night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals.
Ware shot 10-for-17 from the field, 7-for-11 from 3-point range and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line as the third-seeded Bears (13-8) overcame a 12-point first-half deficit and held off a late comeback bid from the second-seeded Rattlers (8-12).
Morgan State will face local rival Coppin State in the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half and 39-30 at halftime, the Bears took a 46-44 lead with 14:47 to play on a layup by Tahj-Malik Campbell. Morgan State stretched its lead to 63-51 with 7:46 to go before the Rattlers responded.
Florida A&M went on a 22-12 run to pull within two, 75-73, with 1:01 to play, but neither team would hit a field goal in the final minute. A free throw by Ware extended the Bears’ lead to 76-73 with 28 seconds left, but FAMU’s Jalen Speer hit a pair from the line to make it 76-75 with nine seconds remaining. After a timeout, Sherwyn Devonish was fouled and made one of two free throws for a 77-75 lead, and DJ Jones’ last-second 3-point attempt missed.
Ware was the only Bear to score in double figures. Devonish scored nine points, Troy Baxter chipped in seven points and Malik Miller added eight points and seven rebounds. Lagio Grantsaan added five points and nine rebounds.
Morgan State 74, North Carolina Central 64: Morgan State defeated North Carolina Central, 74-64, on Thursday in Norfolk, Virginia, to advance to the MEAC tournament semifinals.
Ja’Niah Henson scored 19 points to lead the No. 2 seed Bears (12-3), who will meet No. 1 seed North Carolina A&T (12-2) on Friday at 2 p.m. Morgan State, which has lost just once since Jan. 2, is seeking its first MEAC title.
Henson, a Roland Park graduate, shot 6-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range, as Morgan shot 46.3% from the field. Arkansas-Pine Bluff transfer Jayla Atmore added 13 points, while Dahyne Redd contributed 11 points and six rebounds and Ashia McCalla chipped in 10 points and five rebounds. Morgan’s bench outscored the Eagles’ 33-1.
“I’ve put a lot of pressure on her ever since she was a freshman,” coach Ed Davis said of Henson. “She’s tougher than she looks. She’s not afraid to take the big shots and to make the big plays.”
It’s the second consecutive year that the Bears have advanced to the semifinal round. Last season, Morgan State defeated Delaware State, 64-63, in the quarterfinal round to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2011. However, the MEAC tournament and the season came to an abrupt end because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Anissa Rivera scored a game-high 22 points to lead N.C. Central (4-12).
Norfolk State will face Howard in the other semifinal Friday at noon.
Hofstra 77, Towson 67, OT: Despite a double double from Aleah Nelson (McDonogh) and 19 points from Kionna Jeter, fourth-seeded Towson was eliminated by No. 5 Hofstra in overtime in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament quarterfinals in Elon, North Carolina.
Nelson and Jeter were the only Tigers (13-9, 8-7 CAA) to reach double-digit scoring. Nelson contributed 11 points and 11 assists to earn her first career double double. Jeter added nine rebounds and four steals.
Allie Kubek recorded a team-high 11 rebounds and chipped in nine points.
JaKayla Brown led Hofstra (8-11, 6-7) with a game-high 26 points. Jayla Hines secured a double double of 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Pride, who advance to the semifinals against either No. 1 seed Delaware or No. 9 seed North Carolina-Wilmington.
Norfolk State 56, Coppin State 45: The Eagles’ season came to an end with a loss to the second-seeded Spartans in the MEAC tournament quarterfinals at Scope Arena in Norfolk.
Aliyah Lawson scored a team-high 12 points while Alexandria Hamilton added 11 to lead Coppin (2-13). Hope Evans chipped in eight points while Jalynda Salley added seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Eagles shot just 25.4% from the field but stayed in the game by staying aggressive at both ends of the floor, making 11 of 16 free throws and forcing 15 Norfolk State turnovers.
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Shine Strickland-Gills (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Mangela Ngandjui (12 points, 13 rebounds) both recorded double doubles to lead Norfolk State (5-8).