|Blackâ€™s Offense, Chilesâ€™ Defense Propels Morgan State To Win||< All News|
|Thursday, March 13, 2014|
NORFOLK, Va.—Justin Black scored 21 of his game-high 29 points in the second half and Ian Chiles spearheaded the defense as Morgan State defeated Florida A&M, 81-68 in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament at the Norfolk Scope.
The Bears (15-13), the Number 3 seed, advance to the semifinal round where they will play Coppin State, the Number 7 seed on Friday at 8 pm.
The two teams played it close through the first 20 minutes. The Rattlers (14-18), the Number 6 seed, were led in scoring by guard Jamie Adams and Christopher Rozier, who combined for 12 points. Morgan State countered with Black (8) and Chiles (6) who had 14 points between them as the Bears led 31-29 at intermission.
In the second half, Morgan State began to impose its defensive will on Florida A&M. The 7-2 senior center blocked only two shots, but his presence helped alter a number of shots and caused indecision from the Rattlers, who missed seven of their first eight shots.
The Bears would later take advantage when they reeled off a 14-0 run during a four-minute stretch to increase the lead to 52-36 at the 14:24 mark. Black was sizzling, connecting on seven of eight from the floor in the second half. Chiles aided the cause as he contributed nine of his points in the second stanza.
“He’s a rim protector and that’s what we told him,” said Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman of Chiles. “The thing he did today that he hadn’t done a lot this year is he just kept his hands up he didn’t really come down. I thought they were fouling him, coming underneath him a lot, but I thought he did a good job. We had some breakdowns, but for the most part they did a good job.”
Black, a first team All-MEAC selection, connected on 10 of 14 from the floor while adding nine rebounds and three assists to his stat line.
“Black scored his points and I’m not taking anything away anything from anyone else,” said Florida A&M head coach Clemon Johnson. “Our biggest factor was the 7-footer. Because Black was driving to the basket and now I have a 7-footer behind him, what do I do? Do I let Black drive or throw the lob to the 7-footer. I told my guys to stay with the 7-footer; we don’t want them to get these dunks and get them really motivated. So we had to give up one or the other. He had a philosophy, we were supposed to be pushing Black back toward the middle, but he’d give a head-fake or shoulder-fake and we’d jump and then of course he’d take off baseline and there was nothing we could do to cut him off.”
The lead expanded to 17 before Florida A&M fought its way back on the scoring of Adams, a second team All-MEAC honoree, and cut the deficit to 74-64 with 2:38 left. But the Bears spread the floor and ran isolation plays for Black. When the first team All-MEAC selection was not scoring, he set up teammates Cedric Blossom (12 points) and Anthony Hubbard (9 points, 11 rebounds).
The Rattlers, who had beaten the Bears at their place late in the season, were hurt by the lack of production from Reggie Lewis, their second leading scorer and by the inside dominance. Lewis went scoreless and Morgan State held a 48-31 advantage on the boards, including 20-10 on the offensive glass and 40-28 edge in points in the paint.
Adams led Florida A&M with 26 and Jomari Bradshaw tallied 12. Chiles finished with 15 and Blossom with 12 for the Bears.
The Bears swept their crosstown rival Coppin State this season, but both games were hard fought. It is one of the most intense rivalries in the MEAC.
“To me it’s just another game,” said Chiles, a first team All-MEAC selection. “It’s a rivalry game, yes. They’re from Baltimore and we’re from Baltimore, but it’s just another game to us. We’ve had some success against Coppin and we hope to continue that tomorrow.”