Update: The Morgan State Bears fell to Manhattan College, 80-66 on Dec. 9.
The Morgan State Men’s basketball team were riding a three game losing streak, before their Dec. 9 loss at Manhattan College. The Bears were on the road for those three games but the Bears didn’t have to travel far as all the games fell in the DMV area. The Bears losses had a point differential of seven, seven and five. Those points could have been made up if their leading scorer from a year ago in Tiwian Kendley were in the lineup. In Kendley’s absence the Bears had been highly competitive but it’s clear the team is missing their sharp shooter. While the team has missed Kendley, they added a new name to the roster. Morgan State’s football quarterback Elijah Staley will join Todd Bozeman’s squad. Staley made his debut against Mount St. Mary’s, with an appearance against Navy and was inserted in the lineup against Towson.
“He brings so much to the table,” said Bears Head coach Todd Bozeman about Staley. “He talks on the back line, rebounds, defensively he sees things and he brings energy.”
The Bears took a trip to the nation’s capital to take on George Washington University. The Colonials defeated the Bears 73-66. Martez Cameron’s layup broke a 27-all tie, Stanley Davis hit a 3 and the Bears led 32-27 at halftime behind Cameron’s 11 points and Davis’ 10. Cameron finished with a career-high 19 points, Phillip Carr had 17 with 11 rebounds, Davis added a career-high 15 points and David Syfax 13 for Morgan State.
Yuta Watanabe led the way for GW scoring a career-high 26 points, Jair Bolden scored 13 points and Arnaldo Toto added 12 with seven rebounds and four assists for the Colonials, who made 25 of 54 field goals and 7 of 18 3-pointers. Watanabe, a 6-foot-9 senior guard, grabbed seven rebounds and added five assists. Trailing by five at halftime, Watanabe and Bolden combined for three straight 3s and George Washington led 67-57 after scoring eight unanswered points. The Bears went scoreless for more than a minute down the stretch.
After five days of rest, the Bears looked to bounce back against the Navy Midshipmen. They fell short as Navy’s guard Hasan Abdullah scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Midshipmen to a 66-59 victory over Morgan in Annapolis. After Bears freshman LaPri McCray-Pace hit a 3-pointer to get the Bears within four with a minute to go, Abdullah drove the lane to score, snatched a rebound after a Bears miss and made a free throw, and ended the Bears final possession with a steal.
Carr scored 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first half. Junior guard added Martez Cameron 14 (8-8 FT) with six assists and McCray-Pace had 11 points for the Bears. Navy shot 9-of-24 on 3-pointers and outshot Morgan in the game, 47 percent (23-of-49) to 39 percent (19-of-18). The Midshipman out-rebounded the Bears by a dominating 37-24 margin and scored 28 points inside the paint.
The Bears paid a visit to cross town rival Towson in the ‘Battle for Greater Baltimore’. Zane Martin scored eight of his career-high 25 points in overtime to help Towson beat Morgan 82-78 in a thriller at SECU Arena. The Bears got off to a slow start offensively as the Tigers raced to an 11-2 lead and controlled the paint early. Junior guard Antonio Gillespie nailed a corner 3-pointer that ended a four minute scoring drought for the Bears.
Morgan steadily got back in the game with solid defense and careless play by the Tigers who had a four minute scoring drought of their own. McCray-Pace converted a traditional 3-point play to help cut Towson’s lead to 32-29 at the three minute mark. The Tigers got their seventh 3-pointer of the half when Brian Starr buried a deep long ball just before the horn sounded to give Towson a 36-29 halftime advantage. Towson led by as many as 16 (55-39) with 11:55 remaining, but couldn’t hold off the Bears. A Carr jumper and a breakaway dunk by Stanley Davis was apart of a 14-4 run during a three minute span to help cut into the lead. A 8-0 run in the final three minutes and a layup by newcomer Staley gave the Bears a 62-59 lead.
Martin made a 3-pointer with 8.6 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 67, and Dennis Tunstall and Martin blocked layup attempts to force overtime. Deshaun Morman and Martin made consecutive 3s to give the Tigers a 73-69 lead with 3:32 remaining in overtime. The Bears pulled to 73-71, but Martin added five points and Morsell shot four of four from the line to seal it and the Bears drop to 4-5 in the young season.
The Bears will be on the road again for the next four game against Manhattan, George Mason, Grand Canyon University and California State University. They return to Hill Field House January 3 against University of Maryland Eastern Shore to begin MEAC play. The Bears will have Kendley back in the lineup before the conference schedule begins. With the addition of Staley and the dynamic duo of Carr and Kendley, the Bears will be the team to beat in the MEAC.