Two weeks off seemed to do the Morgan State University Bears men’s basketball team some good, as MSU cruised to a 75-62 home victory over the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers on Dec. 18 at Hill Field House.
Morgan State (4-4) shot 60.5 percent from the field as sophomore forward DeWayne Jackson scored 15 points to lead five Morgan players who scored in double figures in the game.
The Bears got hot offensively from the start, feeding their star big man Kevin Thompson with lay-ups and short jump shot opportunities early in the game.
“They really weren’t doubling me like I thought,” said Thompson, as the center finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. “In the second half they started with the double team, so I had to pass the ball a lot more.”
Defensively, MSU limited UMBC (0-11) to one field goal in the first six minutes of the game. With everything in sync, Morgan jumped out to a 22-8 lead with 9:41 remaining in the first half. They extended their advantage to 34-12 just five minutes later, but UMBC responded defensively by limiting Morgan State to two field goals while cutting the deficit to 40-27 at the half.
UMBC point guard Chris De La Rosa led all shooters with 20 points, and helped keep the score as tight as possible, but the lead Morgan built early was simply too large to overcome.
UMBC head coach Randy Monroe stressed to his team early in the game that they have to fight for victories. In the end, the team didn’t put up much of a fight at all.
“You can’t wait ’til the other team punches you in the mouth a couple times before you start to play,” Monroe explained. “That’s something we can definitely take from this game.”
Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman said his players could also take something valuable from the game.
“The first 15 minutes were the best we’ve had all year… Am I encouraged? Yes I am,” Bozeman said. “But then there’s some concern because we didn’t sustain it. It is a good thing that we started it, now we got to keep it going and build on that.”
Morgan State will take on perhaps its toughest challenge this season on Dec. 20 as they travel to New York’s Carrier Dome to take on No. 5 ranked Syracuse. UMBC will see its next action on Dec. 22 in a matchup against Notre Dame.