Winston-Salem, N.C., March 10 – Kevin Thompson recorded yet another double-double with a team-high 20 points and 16 rebounds and Reggie Holmes and Troy Smith each chipped in with 17 points as Morgan State rolled past North Carolina A&T, 84-57 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Joel Coliseum.
The Bears (25-9), the Number 1 seed, advance to the semifinal round against the winner of the Norfolk State-Hampton University game on Friday at 6 p.m.
Morgan State came out smoking from the tipoff and imposed its will on the Aggies (11-22), the Number 9 seed, who had advanced to this round after defeating Howard University in the opening round on Tuesday.
The Bears put the game away early by shooting 52 percent (18 of 34) en route to a 46-22 halftime lead. Smith and Thompson tallied 12 and 10 respectively. Thompson, who now has 21 double-doubles this season, accomplished the feat by intermission with 10 caroms.
“This is the most focused we have been all season,” said Morgan State’s Todd Bozeman, the MEAC Coach of the Year for the second straight year. “We have been trying to get this kind of complete effort all season and tonight, we finally got it. I am pleased overall, but it is just one game.”
The Bears won both games during the season against NC A&T, but in the most recent match, the Aggies rallied from an 16-point deficit to take a 10-point lead in the second half before Morgan State rallied to win. There would be no repeat of that this time. With Holmes, the MEAC Player of the Year leading the way, Morgan State embarked on a 24-12 run during the first 10 minutes and the rout was on.
“You have to take your hats off to Morgan State,” said North Carolina A&T head coach Jerry Eaves. “They were physical with us and took us out of our comfort zone. We were not able to match their physicality.”
Holmes scored 10 of his points in the second half while Thompson also contributed 10 and led the team in assists with six. Thompson was the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Joe Davis and DeWayne Jackson, the MEAC Rookie of the Year, each added 9.
North Carolina A&T got another fine performance from Nic Simpson, who led his team 17 points off the bench and Tavarus Alston, a second team all-MEAC selection, contributed 11 in a losing cause.
Haley, White Lead UMES to Win Over Coppin State
Winston-Salem, N.C., March 10 – Hillary Haley scored a game-high 25 points, but it was Kevin White, who proved to be the difference as he scored the last 13 points of the game to lead the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to a 64-58 win over Coppin State in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Joel Coliseum.
The Hawks (11-20), the Number 6 seed, will take on South Carolina State, the Number 3 seed on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.
UMES controlled the tempo through most of the game and led, 33-30 at the half, mostly on the scoring of Haley, who tallied 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
“Hillary is a very versatile player,” said UMES head coach Frankie Allen. “He has a reputation as a scorer and he carried us offensively in the first half.”
The Eagles were able to stay close on the production of Kareem Brown and Ceslovas Kucinskas, who combined for 19 points.
Haley and White led the Hawks on an 18-11 run that opened a 10-point lead at the 8:51 mark.
Then Brown, Vince Goldsberry and Brandon Doughty helped Coppin State erase the deficit with an 8-0 run that made it 51-49 at the 5:22 mark.
“To be able to battle back is good and we did, but we did not take advantage of the opportunity when we had it,” said Coppin State head coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell. “In a one-and-done situation, you have to be able to close out. That has been our problem all season.”
That is when White took over. First he hit a three pointer to up the margin to 54-49. He then added a basket to go along with an 8-for-8 free throw shooting performance over the last 2:32 to salt the victory away.
“I thought Kevin did a great job of managing the game,” said Allen. “He found Haley in spots where he likes to score. And when they made the adjustment on Hillary, he was able to score and knocked down free-throws which was big in a game like this.”
In addition to his scoring, White recorded seven assists and grabbed nine rebounds. Haley added six rebounds to his stat line.
The Eagles were led by Brown’s 16, Kucinskas’ 11 and Goldsberry’s 10.
Delaware State Hangs On For 57-55 Win Over Bethune-Cookman
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Second-seeded Delaware State built a 17-point lead with just under 14 minutes left and hung on for a 57-55 victory over seventh-seeded Bethune-Cookman Wednesday in quarterfinal action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament at the Lawrence Joel Veteran Memorial Coliseum.
The Hornets, 17-11, advanced to Friday’s semifinals against the winner of Thursday’s matchup between sixth-seeded Maryland-Eastern Shore and South Carolina State, the third seed.
Fricsco Sandidge had 15 points, including two free throws with 09.6 seconds left that provided the margin of victory, to lead the Hornets. His free throws gave Delaware State a 57-53 cushion, but the Wildcat’s CJ Reed was fouled on the B-CU possession and made both chances from the line to get his team to within 57-55 with 08.0 seconds left.
The Wildcats fouled the Hornets’ Jay Threatt with 07.4 ticks on the clock but the Del-State sophomore missed both opportunities giving B-CU a chance to tie or win the contest with a last second shot. The Wildcats’ Stanley Elliott got to the basket but his layup attempt was just off the mark with just seconds left and the follow by Alexander Starling was waved off by the officials.
Following Sandidge in the scoring column for Del-State, which improved to 17-11, were Threatt with 14 points and Marcus Neal with 13. Sandidge led the effort on the boards with nine rebounds, while Neal pulled down five in the win.
Elliott and Starling both had 15 points for B-CU, which ended its campaign at 17-16, its first winning season in recent memory. Reed, the team’s top scorer, was held to just 11points, however, the Wildcat sophomore handed out seven assists.
In a first half that saw the two teams combine for just 11 points in the first seven minutes, Delaware State scored 12 of the last 14 points to take a 32-22 edge to the locker room. Neal had nine of his total on three 3-pointers during the run.
Delaware State started the second half with a 13-6 run to go ahead 45-28 on two free throws by Threatt with 13:44 on the second period clock. Starling converted a three-point play 11 seconds later to trigger an 18-7 Wildcat run that pulled Coach Clifford Reed’s team to with 52-46 with 6:03 left.
Sandidge got a three-point play on the other end, staking Del-State to a 55-46 advantage wit 2:43 showing, but the Wildcats would rally again, closing the gap to 57-55 on Reed’s two free throws but the comeback was thwarted at the end as Del-State survived.
Hornet head coach Greg Jackson was relieved his team got the victory, but was not happy the way his team played, especially in the second half.
“Our effort in the second half was one of the worse halves of basketball I have been associated with as a coach,” Jackson said. “Those final 13 minutes were horrible. In fact, if you played the way we did the last 13 minutes, you don’t deserve to win.”
Reed, on the other hand, praised the effort of this Wildcats, especially the second-half comeback.
“I’m really proud of the effort we gave tonight,” Reed said. “I was especially pleased with our performance in the second half when we easily could have given up after falling behind by 17 points.”