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Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Chris Davis might be the best example of what the 2012 Orioles are all about.

Entering the season with untapped potential and more failure than success at the big-league level, both Davis and the Orioles have blossomed in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, surpising critics and even the most optimistic fans in what’s been Baltimore’s best start since 2005.

The 26-year-old Davis has morphed into a fan favorite in his first full season with the Orioles, not only becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters but providing one of the craziest memories in club history when he pitched two innings to earn the win in a 17-inning marathon at Fenway Park on May 6.

Add a broken-bat home run against Pittsburgh last week and his first games in right field at the big-league level this past weekend in Atlanta and you have all the makings of a folk hero in Baltimore.

Much like the 39-27 Orioles, at times, it’s difficult to believe what you’re seeing when watching the designated hitter/first baseman/right fielder/pitching extraordinaire.

But there’s no understating how important Davis’ emergence has been this season, especially with stints on the disabled list by Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Markakis. Center fielder Adam Jones has emerged as a superstar by leading the Orioles in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and runs scored, but Davis ranks second or third in all five of those categories in becoming a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat in the lineup.

His 12 home runs and 60 strikeouts in 211 at-bats entering Monday night aren’t overly surprising given Davis’ reputation when the Orioles acquired him in the Koji Uehara trade last July, but his .294 average defies what we saw over his last three years in Texas where Davis went from looking like a future star in 2008 to a player fitting the mold of a “Quad-A” hitter before being dealt.

The raw power has never come into question — evident by his broken-bat homer to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Tommy Watson last Wednesday — as Davis hit 17 home runs and batted .285 in 295 at-bats during his rookie season with the Rangers in 2008. However, the left-handed slugger quickly earned the reputation of a hitter who struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and struggled to handle plus-fastballs in the major leagues. Those flaws led his batting average to plummet to .238 in 2009 and .192 in 2010, causing Davis to bounce back and forth between the Rangers and Triple A in his final three years in Texas.

It was difficult to project Davis as anything more than a less-patient, less-powerful version of Reynolds entering the season, which didn’t speak highly for his potential when considering how flawed Reynolds is as a player.

In 2012, Davis hasn’t made any dramatic changes to his overall approach — 60 strikeouts to just 13 walks — but his improvement against plus-fastballs has led to the substantial increase in average. A career .204 hitter in 255 career at-bats against power pitchers (those in the top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks) entering 2012, Davis has handled them at a .286 rate in 42 at-bats this season.

Davis has also handled left-handed pitching at a far more successful clip, batting .327 in 53 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012 after hitting only .236 against lefties in 275 career at-bats entering 2012.

While his high strikeout and low walk totals aren’t indicative of a hitter that will continue to hover around the .300 mark, Davis has been a model of consistency through his first 57 games this season. Aside from an abysmal seven-game stretch in May in which he went 3-for-28 and struck out 14 times, the left-hander has consistently sat somewhere between .290 and .310 as we reach the final two weeks of June. His .355 batting average for balls put in play indicates Davis has been fortunate, but it’s actually lower than the .366 combined clip he posted last year for the Rangers and Orioles.

When seeing the ball well, Davis shows exceptional power to straightaway center and the opposite field has eight of his 12 home runs have traveled in either of those directions.

After Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter turned to Davis to hold down the No. 3 spot in the order as the Orioles were depleted even further offensively. He’s hit only .206 in 34 at-bats batting third, but the lineup shift could present an interesting decision for Showalter when Markakis returns — projected to be some time during the next homestand, according to the right fielder.

Should Davis remain around the .300 mark, would you consider keeping him in the third spot and moving Markakis to the No. 2 slot? The move would allow Showalter to drop J.J. Hardy in the order, which would make sense with the shortstop hitting only .253 despite 11 home runs.

Whatever the Baltimore skipper decides, it’s a good problem to have.

For a team suffering its fair share of injuries and not receiving the same power numbers it enjoyed from Reynolds a season ago, Davis’ emergence has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.

His willingness to do whatever is asked of him reflects the spirit of the 2012 Orioles.

Need someone to pitch? Not a problem.

You want to put me in right field in a National League ballpark, even though I’ve never played there in the big leagues? Sure thing.

Whatever it takes to win.

Much like watching the Orioles, you keep waiting and wondering if it’s going to last, but Davis has given no indication of slowing down any time soon.

And he just might be realizing the potential so many saw in him when he first arrived in the big leagues.






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For one night anyway, Roberts looked as though he’d never left

Posted on 13 June 2012 by Luke Jones

He has a few more gray hairs and now sports an oversized batting helmet with double ear flaps, but the rest of Brian Roberts looked very much the same in making his long-awaited return to the Orioles in an 8-6 win over the Pirates on Tuesday.

For anyone who’s followed the second baseman’s long, painful road to recovery from concussion-related symptoms over the last 13 months, simply seeing his name on the lineup card was enough to feel good for the 34-year-old who’s spent the last 12 seasons in Baltimore.

What Roberts provided in his first game back was simply the icing on the cake as he went 3-for-4 and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in his first major league game since May 16, 2011. But make no mistake, the veteran infielder was never satisfied with simply making it back to the diamond, especially with the Orioles playing their best baseball in seven years and entering the evening a game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East.

The last thing Roberts wanted to do was mess up what’s been a good thing in Baltimore, as he admitted to having bad dreams the night before returning to the Camden Yards diamond.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Roberts said. “I wasn’t expecting three hits. I was just trying to go out there and — as cliched as it sounds — try to have good at-bats and try to do something that would help us win a game. I really didn’t want to be part of coming in here and losing five or six in a row. That was probably my biggest fear more than anything.”

The tests came immediately as Roberts singled in the first inning after the kind of six-pitch at-bat the leadoff hitter was famous for over his many seasons with the Orioles. He then proceeded to dive back into the bag on a few pickoff attempts.

He slid hard into second base to break up a potential double play in the eighth, showing no hesitation in his approach as many wondered if he would.

You can only take away so much from one game, and the Orioles and their fans will continue to hold their breath on whether the concussion symptoms resurface as they did early in the 2011 season. But Roberts passed another test with flying colors in his first game back, looking as aggressive and capable as ever.

“I think he’ll pick his spots,” said manager Buck Showalter, who plans to use Roberts at second base every day unless circumstances dictate otherwise. “But this game’s challenging enough physically. I’ve seen a lot of guys have more trouble injury-wise when they’re playing at a different clip. I don’t think you’re going to see Brian change a lot of things that he does that makes him what he is.”

If you’re a fan of redemption stories, you couldn’t help but smile seeing Roberts run onto the field after knowing how he even struggled to live a normal life at different points over the last year. It was an ordeal no amount of money — even the $10 million paid to Roberts annually — could cure despite the ignorant cries of those questioning his integrity and desire to play at various points during his recovery. The infamous occasion in which Roberts struck himself in the head with a bat in late September of the 2010 season was a mistake, not a premeditated scheme on which to hold a grudge as some detractors elected to do based on misplaced frustration.

Many inside and outside the organization understandably doubted whether Roberts would ever play again, wondering if his symptoms would ever dissipate or were part of a greater medical issue at work. It was human nature to try to examine what was happening — even with minds such as mine that were uneducated about the brain — but Tuesday should eliminate any doubts about the Baltimore second baseman’s will to play.

One three-hit night doesn’t mean the Orioles once again have the Brian Roberts of old, but it was another successful step — the latest of many the infielder has taken in recent months — for him to reclaim his regular spot as the club’s leadoff hitter and regular second baseman. And his reemergence would make the Orioles a better team than what they’ve already been over the season’s first 2 1/2 months.

For Roberts, the biggest example of feeling like a normal member of the club may have come in the moments after the game when center fielder Adam Jones — the ringleader for post-game antics — offered the shaving cream pie to the second baseman’s face in what’s become a customary practice after wins.

“After I wiped it off, all the fans were cheering around me,” said Roberts, whose voice cracked subtly at a few points during his post-game press conference. “I got a little emotional again. Talk about being a part of a team. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time.”

It was the perfect ending to a heartwarming night for the second baseman, who was greeted with a standing ovation by the sparse crowd at Camden Yards during his first at-bat.

Despite months of everyone — Roberts included — wondering if such a moment would ever take place, there he stood, ready to step in against Pittsburgh starter Brad Lincoln.

He was simply a baseball player again, no longer a cheerleader relegated to the dugout or the guy unable to move from his couch after another frustrating spell of dizziness.

“It took me a second to gather myself,” said Roberts in describing the warm reception. “It was very special and much appreciated. That’s for sure. Everyone has been so good to me here in my career. The fans have been so great and supportive of me the whole time.”

It was good to see that support on display once again.

And even better to witness the successful night that followed for the Orioles second baseman.

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Roberts to begin minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 7:30 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — A day after second baseman Brian Roberts expressed optimism that he was closer than ever to a return, the Orioles announced he will begin a long-awaited rehab assignment on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Roberts will report to Double-A Bowie to begin a minor league rehab assignment, which the club hopes will lead to his return after a year-plus layoff. Roberts last played in a game on May 16, 2011 at Fenway Park.

“[I’m] excited, scared, a little bit of everything,” Roberts said. “It’s been a long time coming for sure. Sometimes it feels like two days and sometimes it feels like 10 years, but I’m extremely excited.”

Under major league baseball rules, Roberts has a maximum of 20 days for a rehab assignment as a position player. Manager Buck Showalter and Roberts said he will likely take the full amount of time before being activated.

Roberts will play second base and receive two or three at-bats in his first couple games. He also expects to serve as the designated hitter on occasion and will have some days off mixed in as well. Roberts said he’s viewing the 20-day period as his version of spring training.

He’s embracing the reality of once again playing baseball — even in the minor leagues — after simply struggling with his overall quality of life at different points over his recovery time.

“When there’s days where you’re laying on the couch and you really can’t even function, you’re not necessarily even thinking about baseball,” Roberts said. “There were days that [playing again] never even crossed my mind. I was just trying to get back to a normal life. As we continued to progress, I still had doubts about playing baseball, but I had more confidence in being able to live a productive and enjoyable life. Now, I’m beginning to think that playing baseball at a high level is a reality as well.”

The 20-day period would end on June 11, meaning Roberts could be in the lineup when the Orioles welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to town for an interleague series on June 12.

 Listen to Roberts’ entire interview with the media prior to Tuesday’s game right here.

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Navy Home Football Games To Kick Off At 3:30PM, Air On CBS Sports Net

Posted on 25 April 2012 by WNST Staff

Navy Home Football Games To Kick At 3:30 PM And Will Be Televised Live By CBS Sports Network

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The five home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.

Navy will kick-off the 2012 season on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland against Notre Dame.  The game will be played at Aviva Stadium, located in the heart of Dublin, and marks the first time the stadium has hosted an American football game.

It will also be the first time in program history that Navy has opened up against Notre Dame and the second time the two teams have met in Dublin.  Navy played the Irish at Croke Park in Dublin in 1996.   The game will be broadcast by CBS Sports and kick at 2:00 PM in Dublin, which is 9:00 AM on the East Coast.

After a week off, the Mids will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 15 to take on Bill O’Brien’s Penn State Nittany Lions.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1974 when Navy shocked Penn State in State College, 7-6.   A kickoff time has not yet been announced by Penn State and the BIG Ten Conference.

VMI comes to town on Sept. 22 for the home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It will be the ninth meeting between the two schools and the first since 2003 when Navy defeated the Keydets, 37-10, in the season opener.

The Mids will have revenge on their minds when San Jose State comes calling on Sept. 29. Last fall, the Spartans eliminated the Midshipmen from bowl contention with a 27-24 victory in San Jose.

Navy will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy on Oct. 6.  The Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy last year thanks to a 35-34 overtime victory over Navy in Annapolis.  Air Force and the Mountain West Conference have not yet released a game time.

The Mids will travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. the following week, as Navy will play at Central Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN2.  It will be the first time Navy has played at Central Michigan and the first time Navy has played in the state of Michigan since 2006 when the Mids beat Eastern Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Indiana Hoosiers come to Annapolis the following week (Oct. 20) for Homecoming.  It will be just the third time in school history that the two teams have met and it will be Indiana’s first trip to Annapolis.  The Hoosiers will be the first Big 10 team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since Northwestern beat Navy in 2002.

East Carolina will play host to Navy on Oct. 27 in Greenville.  The Pirates knocked off Navy last year in a thriller, 38-35. East Carolina and Conference USA have not yet announced a game time.

Navy and Florida Atlantic will meet on the gridiron for the first time the following week as new head coach Carl Pelini brings his Owls North to Annapolis on Nov. 3.

Navy will make its first trip to Troy, Ala. on Nov. 10 when the Mids take on the Troy Trojans. Navy defeated Troy last year, 42-14.  Troy and the Sun Belt Conference have not yet announced a game time.

The home finale takes place on Nov. 17, when Dennis Franchione and the Texas State Bobcats come to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Senior Day.

The 2012 Army-Navy Game Presented by USAA will take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 8.  Navy leads the all-time series, 56-49-7, and has won a series-record 10-consecutive games against the Black Knights.  CBS has not announced a game time as of yet.

Season tickets are on sale now for $180.   Standing room only tickets for the grass hill located at the North end zone of Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium are $100 for the season and the Billy the Kid Package (age 12 and under) is $60 forstanding room only tickets for the grass hill.  Children two and under do not need a ticket unless the child is occupying a sea. You can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or by going to www.navysports.com.

For information about how to get CBS Sports Network, including a full programming schedule, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com  

2012 Navy Football Schedule
Sept. 1                        vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 15            at Penn State                               
Sept. 22            VMI
Sept. 29             at San Jose State
Oct. 6                        at Air Force
Oct. 13                        at Central Michigan
Oct. 20                        Indiana (Homecoming)
Oct. 27                        at East Carolina
Nov. 3                        Florida Atlantic
Nov. 10            at Troy
Nov. 17            Texas State
Dec. 8                        vs. Army (Philadelphia)

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Arrieta Roughed Up By Pirates in Final Spring Start

Posted on 31 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hunter Strong In Orioles Win Over Pirates

Posted on 26 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Markakis Returns But Arrieta Rocked In Orioles Loss

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Bovada Sets Orioles Win Total At 69.5, Second Longest Odds to Win World Series

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Odds to win the 2012 World Series     

Philadelphia Phillies                   11/2

New York Yankees                    13/2

Los Angeles Angels                   7/1

Detroit Tigers                             8/1

Texas Rangers                          10/1

Boston Red Sox                        10/1

San Francisco Giants                 15/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

Miami Marlins                            20/1

Cincinnati Reds                         20/1

Atlanta Braves                           22/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     25/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               28/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    28/1

Washington Nationals                30/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 40/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      40/1

Chicago Cubs                            40/1

Colorado Rockies                       40/1

Cleveland Indians                       60/1

Chicago White Sox                    65/1

Minnesota Twins                        75/1

Kansas City Royals                   80/1

New York Mets                          80/1

Oakland Athletics                      80/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      100/1

San Diego Padres                      100/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Baltimore Orioles                       150/1

Houston Astros                          200/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL Pennant       

New York Yankees                    13/4

Los Angeles Angels                   7/2

Detroit Tigers                             4/1

Boston Red Sox                        11/2

Texas Rangers                          11/2

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/1

Toronto Blue Jays                      22/1

Cleveland Indians                       28/1

Chicago White Sox                    35/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Oakland Athletics                      40/1

Minnesota Twins                        40/1

Seattle Mariners                        60/1

Baltimore Orioles                       75/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Pennant       

Philadelphia Phillies                   9/4

San Francisco Giants                 7/1

Atlanta Braves                           9/1

Cincinnati Reds                         9/1

Miami Marlins                            9/1

St. Louis Cardinals                     11/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    14/1

Washington Nationals                15/1

Arizona Diamondbacks               14/1

Colorado Rockies                       18/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 18/1

Chicago Cubs                            22/1

New York Mets                          40/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      40/1

San Diego Padres                      50/1

Houston Astros                          100/1

Odds to win the 2012 AL East

New York Yankees                    2/3

Boston Red Sox                        3/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/2

Toronto Blue Jays                      12/1

Baltimore Orioles                       100/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL Central         

Detroit Tigers                             1/4

Cleveland Indians                       10/1

Kansas City Royals                   12/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Minnesota Twins                        16/1


Odds to win the 2012 AL West

Los Angeles Angels                   4/5

Texas Rangers                          1/1

Oakland Athletics                      30/1

Seattle Mariners                        45/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL East

Philadelphia Phillies                   1/2

Miami Marlins                            11/2

Atlanta Braves                           6/1

Washington Nationals                8/1

New York Mets                          50/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL Central         

Cincinnati Reds                         7/5

St. Louis Cardinals                     2/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    11/4

Chicago Cubs                            18/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      30/1

Houston Astros                          100/1


Odds to win the 2012 NL West

San Francisco Giants                 5/4

Arizona Diamondbacks               2/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                 11/2

Colorado Rockies                       7/1

San Diego Padres                      15/1

Over/Under Regular Season Win Totals

Arizona Diamondbacks               86½

Atlanta Braves                           86½

Baltimore Orioles                       69½

Boston Red Sox                        90½

Chicago Cubs                            73½

Chicago White Sox                    75½

Cincinnati Reds                         87½

Cleveland Indians                       78½

Colorado Rockies                       80½

Detroit Tigers                             91½

Miami Marlins                            85½

Houston Astros                          63½

Kansas City Royals                   78½

Los Angeles Angels                   91½

Los Angeles Dodgers                 80½

Milwaukee Brewers                    85½

Minnesota Twins                        72½

New York Mets                          73½

New York Yankees                    93½

Oakland Athletics                      72½

Philadelphia Phillies                   93½

Pittsburgh Pirates                      72½

San Diego Padres                      73½

San Francisco Giants                 87½

Seattle Mariners                        71½

St. Louis Cardinals                     85½

Tampa Bay Rays                       86½

Texas Rangers                          91½

Toronto Blue Jays                      81½

Washington Nationals                83½
courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).


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Morgan Opens MEAC Tournament Tuesday Against Hampton

Posted on 06 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Game 29
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 – 11 a.m. (EST)
No. 9 Morgan State (9-19, 6-10 MEAC) vs. No. 8 Hampton Pirates (10-20, 6-10 MEAC)
Winston-Salem, N.C. – Lawrence Joel Memorial Veterans
Live Stats/Video Feed – http://www.meachoops.com/tournament/live/

Head Coach: Todd Bozeman
Alma Mater/Year: Rhode Island/1986
Record at MSU/Year: 110-82/6th
Career Record: 145-144   
Basketball SID:  Leonard L. Haynes IV

•   No. 9 seed Morgan State (9-19, 6-10 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) travels to Winston-Salem and Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum to compete in the 2012 MEAC Tournament. The Bears will open tournament play on Tuesday, March 6 in the 11 a.m. ET First Round matchup against No. 8 seed Hampton. The contest will be a rematch of the 2011 Tournament Championship game in which the Pirates defeated MSU 60-55. For more Tournament information go to www.meachoops.com.

•   Should Morgan State win Tuesday’s First Round contest, it would advance to a Quarterfinals matchup against No. 1 seed Savannah State set for Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m.

•   With a win, the Bears would advance to the Semifinals set for Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

•   With a victory in the Semifinals the Bears would advance to its fifth straight Championship Final.

•   The Final is set for Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

•   No. 9 Morgan will enter the MEAC Tournament next week as one of the hottest teams in the league having won four of its last five games, including its last two.

•   At 9-19, the Bears finished with its fewest wins since recording a 4-26 record during the 2005-06 season under head coach Alfred “Butch” Beard.

• Morgan State had four players score in double-figures and Justin Black converted 4 of 4 free throws in the final 24 seconds to help the Bears beat Florida A&M 74-68 on Thursday night. Aric Brooks led the Bears with 15 points, while Justin Black had 12, and DeWayne Jackson and Shaquille Duncan added 10 apiece.

• At Florida A&M, Morgan State shot 68 percent (17-25) from the field in the first half and finished the game by making 23-of-43 (53 percent), and was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

• MSU’s 91 points against the Eagles were the most points the Bears have scored this season, and also the most points scored by the Bears since defeating Florida A&M 94-68 on Feb. 7, 2010.

• Freshman guard Blake Bozeman had a season-high 14 points  and hit 4 of 6 3-pointers during the Bears win at Delaware State.

• The Bears have used seven (8) different starting lineups in their first 28 games.

• Redshirt sophomore Ian Chiles (7-foot-2) is the first 7-footer since MSU legend Marvin Webster to grace the campus of Morgan State University … Chiles, a Cliffside Park, N.J. product, is currently averaging 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks so far this season.

• The Bears completed the 2010-11 season with a 17-14 mark and posted a 10-6 conference record.

• Morgan State was selected to win the MEAC Regular Season Title, edging out last year’s MEAC Tournament Champion Hampton. The Bears received eight (8) first place votes and a totaled 616 points to take hold of the conference’s top spot going into the season.

• The Morgan State men’s basketball program recognized four seniors who have helped accumulate several lofty achievements during their tenures. PG Larry Bastfield, G/F Aric Brooks, F Ameer Ali and F/C Kevin Thompson will be playing in their final MEAC Tournament.

•  Give the Bears a 12-3  (.800 pct.) record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Tournament games

•  Give Todd Bozeman his 111th victory as MSU’s head coach.

• Give the Bears its first neutral court victory of the season and its sixth victory outside of the confines of Hill Field House.

• Give the Bears its 13th win against Hampton.

• Give senior Kevin Thompson his ninth Tournament victory in 10 appearances

• Tuesday morning’s game will be the 33rd meeting between Morgan State and Hampton in men’s basketball. The Pirates hold a 21-11 all-time record against the Bears.

The Bears have won four of the last six meetings against the Pirates, with one of the losses coming against Hampton during the 2011 MEAC championship game.

MSU’s Last Outing vs. Hampton – Christopher Tolson hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute to help seal a 68-63 win in an ESPNU televised matchup at the HU Convocation Center on Jan. 30. Tolson scored 19 points to lead the Pirates, who took control of the game late in the second half and withstood last second baskets by MSU’s Larry Bastfield. The Bears led for most of the game and held a 31-28 halftime advantage despite sporadic play by both teams.

•  Hampton’s last game in the MEAC Tournament was against the Bears in the Finals. The Pirates got some timely baskets from Darrion Pellum to help Hampton beat the Bears 60-55 in the MEAC Tournament Championship game at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Darrion Pellum was named to the Most Valuable Player of the tournament

•  Hampton has lost five of its last six games, including a loss on Saturday against Coppin State.

•  Senior All-MEAC guard Darrion Pellum continues to be one of the top scorers in the league. The senior led the MEAC in the season by averaging 18.1 points and is shooting 36.1 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from 3-point territory. The Hampton, Va. native is also averaging 4.2 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists.

•  Hampton completed the regular season ranked No. 7 in the MEAC averaging 38.2 rebounds per game, and ranked No. 3 in the league in offensive rebounds (36.9/g).

Morgan State finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the MEAC in blocked shots by averaging 4.5 blocks per game.

Senior swingman Aric Brooks has been the Bears’ leading scorer over the course of the last several games. The Baltimore product has averaged 13.1 ppg on 52 percent shooting during a seven-game stretch and has scored in double-figures in 6 of the last 7 games, including a career-high 19-point performance at Coppin State on Feb. 22. Brooks is currently averaging 7.9 ppg.

Morgan State has definitely had its share of close losses this season. Of MSU’s 19 losses, nine have come by four points or less and five have been decided by one point. The average margin of defeat in those games is 2 points. The only win they recorded in a game decided by four points or less was when they defeated Delaware State 73-72 in Dover on Feb. 27. Heading into the MEAC Tournament on Tuesday the Bears are forgetting the frustration and focusing on the confidence that came from those games.

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