The Morgan State Bears men’s basketball team advanced to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament finals after beating the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 82-71 in the semifinals March 15 in Norfolk, Va.

The victory put the Bears in the MEAC Championship game for the fifth time in seven years and gave Morgan a shot at a third MEAC basketball title since head coach Todd Bozeman took over the team in 2006.

Morgan State got off to a 7-0 lead over Bethune-Cookman (14-20 overall record, 7-9 MEAC) early on and never relinquished the lead. They led 39-31 and kept a comfortable lead throughout the second half to cruise to the victory.

Sophomore forward Shaquille Duncan led the Bears in scoring with 17 points, while junior guard Justin Black and senior forward DeWayne Jackson pitched in with 16 points each.

Morgan State also played outstanding defense, especially on Bethune-Cookman’s leading scorer, junior forward Adrien Coleman. The junior guard led the MEAC in scoring this season with 18 points per game, but was held to only eight points against Morgan State. Senior guard Kevin Dukes led Bethune-Cookman with 20 points while sophomore guard Ricky Johnson followed with 18.

The Bears (17-14 overall record, 10-6 MEAC) will face North Carolina A&T (18-16 overall record, 8-8 MEAC) in the conference championship game on March 16.

N.C. A&T beat Delaware State (15-18 overall record, 8-8 MEAC), 84-78 in the semifinals.

The game will pit two underdogs for a chance at an automatic invite to the NCAA basketball tournament. Morgan was fifth seed in the MEAC tournament; A&T was seeded eighth.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor