By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
For just the second time in their last 15 meetings the UDC Firebirds defeated Bowie State 84-80 snapping a four game win streak in the District.
Junior guard Zachary Olukanni led the Firebirds with 21 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. The Bulldogs, coming off their win over 11th ranked Shippensburg, were led by junior Cameron Hayes who scored a game-high 23 points in just 22 minutes with eight rebounds off the bench.
The home team has won the last four games of this series, with UDC claiming victories this year and in 2016, and BSU in 2015 and 2017. The last four meetings have all been decided by six points or less. UDC led by as many as 16 in the first half and trailed by as many as six in the second half, but two separate second half spurts were enough to end hopes for a Bulldogs comeback.
David Belle was voted CIAA Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field in Bowie State’s to a 74-70 upset of #11 Shippensburg. He also led them with a game-high 10 rebounds, while shooting 8-of-9 from the free throw line adding one steal, one block, and one assist as well.
MORGAN STATE STOPS TOWSON IN CLASSIC
Morgan State erased a 14-point first half deficit to end a five game streak of futility against Towson State in the inaugural Charm City Classic at Royal Farms Arena.
Freshman guard Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr. led the Bears with 19 points with senior guard Martez Cameron adding 14 as they pulled to within a game of .500 at 4-5 heading to final exams. Brian Fobbs led struggling Tigers with 16 points and nine rebounds, who’ve lost seven of their first nine games to open the season.
Morgan is a young athletic team that doesn’t feature a scoring presence in the low post and they are looking for a number one scoring option to replace Tiwain Kendley who is a member of the Washington Wizards organization. That dilemma forced coach Todd Bozeman into critical decision to erase their double digit deficit and set a tone for the rest of the game.
The Bears full court press discombobulated Towson’s rhythm and lead to easy transition baskets. They cut the Tigers lead to five by halftime then continued with the press after intermission, which forced away from their half court game. Bozeman’s adjustment forced Towson into 21 turnovers which was the difference in a game decided by five points and the game swung in Morgan’s direction during a critical 20-9 run that extended from the latter stages of the first then into the second half.
Nonetheless, Towson was within a basket inside the last two minutes forcing the Bears to execute their offense in the front court. Junior David Syfax scored twice during the game’s decisive stretch before freshman Isiah Burke iced the game with a layup.
HOWARD’S COLE NAMED MEAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Howard sophomore guard R.J. Cole began his quest to earn the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year by earning his first player of the week award.
Cole averaged 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds as the Bison finished the week by splitting a pair of games. He shot 46 percent from the field while also averaging two steals per contest. In the win versus American, Cole scored 21 points with 10 assists and seven rebounds in 34 minutes of action. Versus Appalachian State, he scored 19 points with three steals and six assists.