Men’s Basketball Score Win Against UMES

Akira Kyles

With ten seconds left in the game, Morgan State University guard, Tiwian Kendley went to the free throw line with the game tied at 79. Kendley missed most of the second half due to foul trouble but he knew what he had to do.

“Only thing that was going through my head was, knock these free throws down and get us a home win,” said Kendley. “We were in a drought, a seven game losing streak, so it was important to get better, and start the MEAC off with a W.”

Kendley would knock down the first shot, to put Morgan State up by one. On his second shot, he missed but managed to get his own rebound and was fouled again. His next two shots solidified the win 85-82 as the Bears (5-9) completed a 18-point comeback.

“I told them, we needed a tough game to pull through,” said Coach Todd Bozeman. “We had some tough games like that earlier, [but] we didn’t pull them through. Hopefully this is a confidence booster for us, that we can move forward with.”

After a long road, the Morgan State men’s basketball team were looking forward to returning to Talmadge L. Hill Field House for a little home court love. They hosted the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Hawks to open there MEAC season after finishing the trip on a seven game losing streak.

The Hawks (4-12) attempted to build a commanding lead early in the second half with 12 three pointers. It was around this time that Kendley picked up his fourth foul with a technical. He was forced to the bench with 18 points and Morgan was faced with a choice.

Either be blown out to open conference play, or rally and start a comeback for the ages. They choose the latter, and went on a 16-0 run to cut the lead to two points with six minutes left in the game. This was all done thanks to forward David Syfax who came off the bench for Kendley and provided the spark that the Bears needed.

“It was huge, I was telling those guys in practice they would see those kind of scenarios,” said Bozeman. “And you just got to be able to focus in, but we’ve been looking for that all year, the energy off the bench, and David provided that for us.”

Syfax ended up with 13 points and five rebounds, but his hustle and effort was not seen in the box score. Fellow forward Azariah Sykes also made many defensive plays that contributed to the Bears comeback win. Senior Phillip Carr once again lead the team in rebounds with 11 and recorded his eighth double-double of the season.

Last season, Morgan was one of the best in the country at defending the three pointer. Opponents this year have made almost 40 percent of their three pointers, making almost nine a game. If the Bears hope to live up to their potential and have a chance to win the MEAC, they must clean up this part of the defense.

“Tez (Martez Cameron) was a leader, got in our ear and told us we need to crack down on defense,” said Carr, “We practice hard every day, we need to just translate that to the game. Come out faster on defense, forget the offensive end, just come out tougher on defense and everything else will come together.”