It was all smiles and high-fives for students and fans of the Morgan State Bears early on, but that happiness lasted only about 15 minutes as No. 15 seed Morgan State was routed by No. 2 West Virginia, 77-50, in an NCAA tournament first round matchup on March 19 in Buffalo, N.Y.
MSU leapt out to a 10-0 lead in the opening minutes, and a tough basket made by freshman sensation DeWayne Jackson gave Morgan a 19-14 lead with eight minutes left in the opening half.
But “Goliath” eventually adjusted to the quick rush by “David,” and marched back late in the first half. West Virginia (28-6 overall) took control of the game when they tied the score at 19 at the seven-minute mark in the first half, and guard Joe Mazzulla converted a three-point play shortly after to give WVU its first lead of the game.
With the lead now in their hands, West Virginia clamped down on Morgan State’s offense with stifling defense, and pushed the lead up to 38-27 at halftime. Morgan wouldn’t come close to regaining the lead for the rest of the contest.
MSU star Kevin Thompson finished the game with 11 points and nine rebounds, but his fellow star teammate, Reggie Holmes, struggled, converting only 4 of 17 shot attempts for 12 points.
West Virginia star Da’Sean Butler was shut down by Morgan State, scoring just nine points and six rebounds. His teammate Kevin Jones stole the show, scoring 17 points off the bench. Devin Ebanks followed with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
West Virginia advanced to the second round of the East Regional, where they will face No. 10 Missouri on Sunday.