Morgan visits Howard Thursday in regular season finale

March 05, 2014 | WNST Staff

Thursday, March 6, 2014
Opponent: Howard Bison (7-23, 5-10 MEAC)
Site: Burr Gymnasium, Washington, D.C.
Game Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
MSU Coach: Todd Bozeman (140-115 – 8th yr)

BALTIMORE, Md. – The Morgan State Bears (12-15, 10-5 MEAC) will look to sweep its season series with Howard (7-23, 5-10 MEAC) on Thursday when it takes on the Bison in an 8 p.m. game at Burr Gymnasium in Washington, D.C. The Bears will attempt to bounce back from a 78-73 home loss to Florida A&M. The game will mark the regular season finale for both teams.

SCOUTING THE BISON
The Bison welcomed back four veterans, including one starter, from a squad that posted a 6-24 overall record and went 4-12 in the MEAC. James Daniel leads the Bison by averaging 22.0 ppg and is shooting 41 percent (87-209) from beyond the arc. Prince Okoroh is the only other Bison who’s scoring in double-figures (14.3 ppg) and he also leads the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg). Oliver Ellison has chipped in 4.6 rpg and leads the Bison with 30 blocked shots thru 30 games. Kevin Nickleberry (Virginia Wesleyan ’86) enters his third season as Howard’s head men’s basketball coach where he currently holds a 14-47 record and is 113-150 overall.

Coppin State used a three-point barrage to shoot down Howard, 86-69 on Monday night in Baltimore. The Eagles set the tone early as Andre Armstrong led the way with 14 points that included four of eight from the three-point line.  Michael Murray complemented Armstrong with 11 points on medium-range shots as Coppin led 36-28 at the half. The Bison got 10 points Prince Okoroh in the first 20 minutes, but they missed the presence of leading scorer James Daniel, who was forced to sit 11 minutes after picking up his second foul.  With Daniel on the bench, the Bison turned the ball over 13 times and Coppin State accepted the gifts by converting them into 13 points.

LAST TIME VS. THE BISON
BALTIMORE (December 7, 2013) – Justin Black scored 17 points and led five teammates in double-figures as Morgan State won its conference home opener against Howard University 87-58 on Saturday at Hill Field House. Howard (2-9, 0-1) and Morgan State opened Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play and also celebrated their 101st meeting.

WE MEET AGAIN: The Morgan State Bears will square off against the Bison for the 102nd meeting between the two. The Bears hold a 60-49 record against Howard since the series began in 1950-51. Todd Bozeman holds a 10-1 record against the Bison since becoming MSU’s head coach in 2006 … his one loss was on Feb. 6, 2012 when Howard left Hill Field House with a 54-46 victory.

THREE IN DOUBLE FIGURES
Thru 27 games last season, three Bears averaged more than 10 points a game. Justin Black leads with by averaging 18.5 ppg (No. 3 in MEAC), Ian Chiles averages 15.5 points per game (No. 9 in MEAC), while Anthony Hubbard is averaging 10.7 points and leads the squad averaging 6.6 rpg (No. 8).

BLACK A MEMBER OF THE 1,000 POINTS CLUB 
Senior guard Justin Black eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his career as a result of his 24-point outing against Cal State Northridge (12/27) … Black recently moved in front of Jason McCoy (1,292 pts – 1987-91) as the school’s No. 13 leading scorer and currently has 1,301 career points.

POUNDING THE PAINT
MSU is eager to get the ball inside this season, even more so than normal. Through 15 conference games, MSU ranks No. 2 in the MEAC averaging 74.2 points per game, including 15 points in the paint. This includes a dominating 50-22 edge in the paint at Hampton (1/20), 42-20 advantage at Coppin State (2/10), and 48-30 versus Bethune-Cookman (3/1).

THEIVES IN THE NIGHT
Two Bears are averaging better than 1.0 steals per game - Justin Black (2.0 – ranks No. 2 in MEAC), and Donte Pretlow (1.3 – No. 8). Morgan State is also No. 5 in the MEAC by averaging 6.5 steals per game.??

LOOK WHO’S IN SLAM 
Morgan State senior guard Justin Black was recently featured in SLAM ONLINE (www.slamonline.com) in an article entitled “Game Plan.”

TOUGH IN THE PAINT
Ian Chiles and Thair Heath are shooting better than .500 from the field this year. Thru the first 27 games Chiles is shooting 55.9 pct (ranks No. 4 in MEAC). Heath is shooting 57.7 pct., while frontcourt teammate The Bears are among the top teams in the MEAC ranked No. 3 in field goal percentage (.429).

WELCOME TO MY BLOCK PARTY
Ian Chiles has been making the most of his 7-foot-2 frame. The senior recorded a career-high 9 blocked shots against Norfolk State on Feb. 8. He’s currently ranked No. 3 in the MEAC averaging 2.9 rejections per contest (80) and now has 179 career blocks.

THE ALMOST-TRIPLE-DOUBLE
Despite the loss against Norfolk State (Feb. 8), Ian Chiles had a strong effort and came close to finishing with the oh so rare — triple-double. “Big Slew” completed the night with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and notched a career-high nine blocked shots … one rejection short a triple-double.

A BLOSSOM ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Cedric Blossom leads the Bears with 71 offensive rebounds thru the first 27 games. The sophomore has started in 26 of 27 games and is averaging 7.0 ppg, 5.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes. He had a sensational game at UMES (Feb. 17) where he posted a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds — he has recorded three double-doubles during his career.

THE 3-HEADED GRIZZLY
In the first 15 conference matchups this season Justin BlackIan Chiles and Anthony Hubbard have scored 627 points, while the rest of the squad has produced 477 points. In the blowout of Howard, the trio combined to score 39 points with Black scored a team-high 17 points. Against Coppin State, the trio accounted for 61 of the Bears’ 82 points with Black and Chiles leading the way with 23 apiece. The trio has totaled 1,206 of the team’s 1,925 points, 63 percent of the team’s scoring load.

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