Morgan State sophomore forward DeWayne Jackson put on one of his best shooting performances of the season on Feb. 14, and it was just enough to help his team avoid a Valentine’s Day heartbreaker as the Bears escaped the South Carolina State Bulldogs, 72-66, at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center in Orangeburg, S.C.

Jackson, a 6-foot-6-inch native of Bowie, Md., connected on five of 10 three-point shot attempts and finished with a team-high 17 points. But his biggest shot came from three-point-land with just 30 seconds remaining in the game. Jackson’s clutch trey-ball gave Morgan a 68-64 lead at the time, good enough to seal the conference win.

“I just set my feet like (assistant coach Keith Goodie) kept telling me,” Jackson said. “I was hearing him on the bench ‘DeWayne, set your feet! Set your feet!’ So I just knocked it down. It was a big shot for my team.”

Other key contributors for Morgan State included junior forward Kevin Thompson, who scored 10 points with eight rebounds and junior forward Ameer Ali, who recorded 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting.

The Bears now advance to a 12-10 overall record, 8-3 against the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Morgan State men’s squad will return to action on Feb. 19 with a home game against Virginia Military Institute. This will be the first meeting between MSU and VMI, but the Bears believe they’re up for the challenge.

“Every team gives us their best shot,” Jackson said. “We know basketball is a game of runs as coach (Todd Bozeman) would say. We know all we have to do is keep our advantages, keep playing defense and we can get the win.”

Meanwhile, the Morgan State women’s basketball team didn’t have the same success during their trip to South Carolina on Valentine’s Day. Lady Bears sophomore guard Jamesia Smith scored a team-high 15 points off the bench and Brittany Dodson followed with 11 points, but it wasn’t enough as the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs pulled away, 60-57. SCSU’s Tiara Knotts scored a game-high 23 points and her teammate Fannie Goodwin recorded a game-high 11 rebounds to help hand Morgan State their first two-game losing streak since December.

South Carolina State now advances to a 7-15 overall record, 3-9 MEAC, while Morgan State falls to 14-10 overall, 8-3 MEAC wise. The Lady Bears will host Delaware State in another MEAC contest on Feb. 19 at the Hill Field House.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor