Bears lose 74-64 to Royals at Jamaica Classic

The Morgan State Bears fail to recover after falling behind 20 points by the first half.


Osaretin Iyare

“We didn’t help ourselves,” Morgan Coach Kevin Broadus said of the slow start. “We laid an egg. We fought back but it wasn’t enough. It’s a learning experience.”

Julien Johnson, Contributing Writer

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – The Morgan State Bears never lead once as they fell to Queens University 74-64 in the Rose Hall Division Championship game at the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic.

Morgan fell behind by 20 points in the first half against Queens Sunday and could never recover.

The Bears (2-4) headed into the Montego Bay Convention Centre riding the wave of their nail-biting 73-72 victory against Utah Valley on Friday. 

But they were cold-handed and flat-footed by the start of the first half Sunday. 

“We didn’t help ourselves,” Morgan Coach Kevin Broadus said of the slow start. “We laid an egg. We fought back but it wasn’t enough. It’s a learning experience.”

Queens (4-1) opened the game sure-handed and rode their  confidence to a 22-2 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half. 

The Royals shot nine for 15 during that stretch, hitting four three-pointers and held Morgan to just one made field goal attempt with their suffocating defense.

Queens forward Jayden Turner scored the Royals’ first points of the game on a coast-to-coast tomahawk jam. He finished the game with 23 points and seven rebounds.

The Royals’ scoring run frustrated Morgan’s coaching staff and forced Broadus to try different lineups. He substituted his entire starting lineup in an attempt to chip away at the 20-point deficit.

Even as they started to mount a comeback, Broadus substituted players who fell asleep on defensive matchups or made a costly turnover. He subbed out senior guard Isaiah Burke after he committed a turnover.

Even though it was players making mistakes, Broadus said the burden is his.

“I’ve got to demand the mental awareness of what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “We thought they were just going to come in and lay down, and we played like it.”

As the first half continued, the Bears eventually cut the score to within nine points. But another Queens three-pointer slammed the door close on any rally. 

The Bears trailed 37-25 by halftime.

They were outrebounded 23-11 in the first half and outrebounded 42-26 in total rebounds. The team also shot 10 for 27 from the field.

Morgan shot four for five to start the second  half and finished 25 for 58 from the field, but the Royals kept the Bears at arm’s length from their lead. 

Whenever the Bears tried to get any momentum, they gave up another open three, another and-one or got called for another foul to stop them in their tracks.

Free throws played a huge factor in this game. The Royals shot 14 for 22 from the line while the Bears finished 10 for 19. 

Senior forward Malik Miller finished with 16 points and eight rebounds and tried his best to keep his team afloat. Morgan scored 23 points off 22 forced turnovers.

Miller and the team played hard, but struggled to bounce back from their original deficit.

“It’s on us. We dug ourselves in that hole.” Miller said. “I just think we gotta come out with a better start and a better pace and just learn from it.”

Queens never let up their scoring attack as junior forward Jay’Den Turner finished with 23 points and seven rebounds and senior guard Kenny Dye scored 18 points. Queens shot 26 for 52 from the field.

[Kenny Dye Picture]

Broadus credited Queens for starting strong and securing the victory.

“My hat’s off to them,” he said. “I give them all the praise. They did what they’re supposed to do to stop us. All the credit goes to Queens.”

Broadus said the experience was a learning opportunity and the lessons will continue on the road as the Bears travel to California to face the Loyola Marymount Lions Wednesday. 

“Definitely a teachable moment.” Miller said. “We got some good and bads in this tournament. We learned some of our weaknesses and we learned how to be better when adversity hits.”