By Mark F. Gray,
Special to the AFRO
There was never a time where Howard seemed fazed by anything Morgan threw at them Saturday afternoon in Baltimore. Despite a barrage of three pointers in the first half, which led to a 10-point lead, the Bison remained poised and executed head coach Kenny Blakeney’s offense.
For a team who let their game against Notre Dame slip through their fingertips thanks to a meltdown of execution, Howard held off the Bears in the first of what could be three meetings this year with a 91-82 win at Hill Field House.
The Bison, who are being led by a talented group of freshmen that has found its rhythm, ended a three game losing streak while earning its first conference win of the season. Howard entered the week 7-8 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The win was also the first time coach Blakeney won a MEAC game away from Burr Gym.
“I’m really proud of the effort our guys played with today,” said Blakeney. “Morgan State is really good. It was a great job for us to come into Baltimore and get this win.”
To this point in the young conference season Morgan has underachieved. A Bears team that was picked to finish second behind Norfolk State continues to rely heavily on three point shooting which failed them badly in the second half. The loss dropped MSU to 6-9 overall and 1-2 (MEAC).
Howard was led by a trio of 20 point performances that were especially clutch during the second half stretch, which propelled them to the victory. Graduate student Randall Brumant finished with a season-high 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Brumant had his way with the soft Bears interior defense that often late with their rotations leaving him to terrorize them in the paint.
“We’ve been putting in the work all season long,” said Brumant, who leads Howard in rebounding (5.7 rpg). “We’ve been in a lot of close games and came up short. It was good to get this road win.”
The Bison’ dynamic DeMatha High freshman duo of Steve Settle III and Elijah Hawkins played big in helping them secure the first conference win of the season. Settle took advantage of the porous Morgan interior scoring 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Walker’s leadership was beyond his years down the stretch as he was able to calmly direct their offense during critical moments in the second half and finished the game with 20 points.
Morgan opened the game blistering the nets from the perimeter to start the first half behind junior guard De’Torrion Ware, who led the Bears with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Ware was in and out of their lineup while appearing to receive medical attention for a hand injury that kept them out of the lineup during several stretches, especially in the second half. It was his third consecutive game recording a double-double and the sixth of his career.
The next time these two teams meet will be in Cleveland during the NBA All-Star weekend festivities in a nationally televised matchup on NBA-TV Feb. 19.
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