Morgan Opens MEAC Tournament Tuesday Against Hampton

March 06, 2012 | WNST Staff

2011-12 MORGAN STATE BASKETBALL
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/

BEAR FACTS
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

GAME TIME
•   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.

THE PATH TO THE FINALS
•   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.

BEAR BITS
•   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.

BEARS BID FAREWELL TO FOUR SENIORS 
• 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.

A BEARS WIN WOULD…
•  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

THE SERIES VS. THE PIRATES
• 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.

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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.

NOTE ON THE PIRATES
•  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).

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

BROOKS RISING
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.

CLOSE CALLS
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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