The great shooting that Morgan State displayed in the past two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship games came to a screeching halt this year. Instead, it was Hampton University who got some timely baskets from junior guard Darrion Pellum to beat Morgan, 60-55, in the MEAC Tournament Championship game on March 12 at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.
As conference champion, Hampton will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
MSU’s top player, junior center Kevin Thompson got into foul trouble early, and his absence became a huge factor in the game.
“We need him on the floor, that’s obvious,” Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman said. “He fought hard in there, it’s hard when you’re at the disadvantage.”
“It was a war, it was what we expected, it’s the one we wanted to win,” Hampton head coach Ed Joyner Jr. said about the game.
Bozeman was unhappy with the officiating in the game, and expressed that during the post-game press conference.
“It’s ridiculous, I think they got what they wanted,” Bozeman said. “I think it’s hard when you have so many officials that come from one particular university. I can take a loss when everything is fair and square.”
In the first half, Morgan State kept Pellum, Hampton’s outstanding guard, scoreless. Even so, Hampton (24-8) got off to a good start in the game, outscoring MSU 10-2 in the game’s first five minutes. Morgan’s defense would eventually break down against Hampton’s lively offense, led by Brandon Tunnel’s 20 points.
“Sometimes the ball didn’t go in the basket,” said Morgan sophomore DeWayne Jackson, who finished with a game-high 25 points. “But we really weren’t worried about our offense, it was our defense.”
Morgan State ends its season with a 17-14 overall record.