|MEAC Men's Basketball Tournament: Day 5||< All News|
|Friday, March 15, 2013|
Morgan State Holds Off Bethune-Cookman to Advance to MEAC Final
Norfolk, Va. , March 15, 2013– Fifth-seeded Morgan State built an early lead and repelled several rallies by fourth-seeded Bethune-Cookman to earn an 82-71 win over the Wildcats Friday in semifinal action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Bears, the highest seed remaining in the tournament, connected on almost 57-percent of their field-goal attempts in earning the victory and a trip to Saturday’s final against the winner of the other semifinal match between North Carolina A&T and Delaware State.
Shaquille Duncan led the way for Morgan State with 17 points, on a 7-of-8 effort from the field. Justin Black and Dwayne Jackson added 16 points each in the contest, the first meeting between the two teams in two years. Anthony Hubbard was also in double figures with 11 points for Coach Todd Bozeman’s squad, which climbed to 17-14. Black added a team-high nine rebounds.
The Wildcats, who eliminated top-seeded Norfolk State 70-68 on Wednesday, were paced by Kevin Dukes with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field, including a 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Ricky Johnson tossed in 18 points that included a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Bethune-Cookman’s All-MEAC forward Adrien Coleman was limited to just eight points on 4-of-11 attempts by the Bear defense.
“It was a really interesting game for us,” said the Bears’ Bozeman, “because we had not played them in two years. The main focus for us was to defend and rebound and get out on them early.”
“From a player standpoint,” he continued, “we wanted to contain Adrien Coleman, an excellent ballplayer and clearly one of the top players in this league. And, with Shaquille (Duncan) and Ian (Chiles) inside for us, we wanted to get the ball inside.”
And that the Bears did as 48 of their points came in the paint area.
Morgan State, which led from wire to wire, took a 39-31 cushion to the locker room. The Bears upped the margin to 51-37 when Duncan completed a three-point play with 14:11 remaining. The scrappy Wildcats rallied to close the gap to six, at 64-58, when Dukes connected on a 3-pointer with just over six minutes remaining.
Black answered, however, with a 3-pointer of his own on Morgan State’s next possession to ignite a 9-4 run that put the Bears up 73-62 and in control of the game once more The Wildcats could come no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Morgan State, which rallied behind the 3-point shooting of Black on Thursday to defeat Savannah State 64-61 in overtime to reach Friday’s semifinals, took an 8-1 lead in the contest when Tauron Bailey made one of two from the line with 16:26 on the first-period clock.
A free-throw by Javoris Bryant, who finished with five points for Bethune-Cookman, and back-to-back buckets by Coleman pulled the Wildcats to within 8-5 with just 20 seconds elapsed. But the Bears took a 21-13 advantage with 11:53 left in the period.
The Wildcats, behind an 11-6 spree, closed the gap to 27-24 on consecutive 3-pointers by Dukes with 5:17 left in the opening period, however the Bears closed out the period with a 12-7 run to build a 39-31 cushion at the half.
In a tournament in which the top four seeds fell in the quarterfinals, the Bears will be making their first trip to the finals since the 2011 season when they lost to Hampton.
“We are just happy to be playing for the championship,” said Bozeman.
North Carolina A&T Held Off Delaware State, 84-78 To Advance to MEAC Final
Norfolk, Va., March 15, 2013---Adrian Powell scored a game-high 23 points to lead five players in double figures as North Carolina A&T held off Delaware State, 84-78 in the semifinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope. The Aggies (18-16), the number seven seed will take on Morgan State, the number five seed, in the tournament championship Saturday at 5 pm. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
The Aggies dialed up the long ball to keep the pressure on Delaware State, connecting on 10-of-19 from beyond the arc for a sizzling 53-percent.
Powell led the Aggies with 14 on 2 of 3 from three-point range while Lamont Middleton (2 of 2), Austin Witter (1-of -1) and Jeremy Underwood (2-of-3) combined for a sizzling 64-percent. The hot shooting allowed North Carolina A&T to open its biggest lead at 38-24 with 3:37 on the clock.
But the Hornets woke up and reeled off a run of their own, a 14-2 spurt that reduced the deficit to 40-38 with five seconds remaining. Feeling good about themselves on the comeback, the Hornets relaxed just enough for Powell to come down and bury the shot at the buzzer that would take the lead to 43-38.
“That three near the end of the half gave us a little cushion and some momentum coming out on the second half,” said Powell, who also just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
The Aggies came out and built on the momentum, putting together a 15-5 run that opened a 58-43 lead with 14:22 on the clock. But Delaware State refused to go away and responded with a run of its own which helped get them to within to two at 80-78 with 2:19 remaining.
Following a timeout, North Carolina A&T regrouped and closed it out with two free-throws a steal and a dunk.
“I am happy to get the win,” said North Carolina A&T first year head coach Cy Alexander. “We almost handed the game away near the end of the second half. We made some uncharacteristic unforced errors that led to turnovers. We became undisciplined and lost our poise. Delaware State just ran out of gas.”
Delaware State (15-18) got 19 points from first team All-MEAC selection Tahj Tate, 17 from Marques Oliver, 14 from Tyshawn Bell off the bench and 11 from Casey Walker. The Hornets committed 17 turnovers and lost the rebounding contest , 36-24.
“We are not a disciplined team,” said a frustrated Delaware State coach Greg Jackson. “They wanted it more than we did.”
Powell led all scorers with 23, Middleton with 17, 12 from Jean Louisme and 10 from reserve Bruce Beckford in a balanced scoring attack.
“Getting this far means a great deal, especially for me and the other seniors,” said Powell. “We have never gotten this far before. Our goal is to come back and finish things on Saturday."