Hornet men fall to Bears 63-58 in MEAC opener

 

BALTIMORE — Keith Walker was extremely honest after Delaware State’s first game of MEAC play.

Going by the statistics, he thought the Hornets should have lost by more.

Morgan State grabbed 27 offensive rebounds and led wire-to-wire to deal the Hornets a 63-58 road defeat on Saturday afternoon. Delaware State (0-1 MEAC, 1-14 overall) also turned the ball over 19 times.

“It’s a wonder that we only lost by five,” Walker said. “I think if we keep the rebounds in a normal range we have a good chance to win this game.”

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Keith
Walker

Despite trailing by as much as 17 points in the second half, the Hornets had a chance to make it a one-possession game in the final minute.

Freshman point guard Devin Morgan Jr. scored 18 of his career-high 27 points to spark a second-half comeback. He hit a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to cap an 11-3 DSU run and close the gap to 62-58.

The Bears missed a pair of free throws, but the Hornets couldn’t draw closer when Aric Dickerson’s three-point attempt was blocked. The Bears then sealed it with a free throw and Morgan Jr. missed a three on the other end as time ran out.

Delaware State earned its first victory of the year on Monday against Summit University but the Hornets are still searching for their first win over a Division I opponent.

“Of course with the first MEAC game you want to send a message,” Morgan Jr. said. “But every game is going to be a tough game. We’ve got to get used to that and forget this game to move into Monday (against Howard).”

Morgan State (1-1 MEAC, 3-12 overall) scored the game’s first 10 points including a putback dunk by Cedric Blossom on an offensive rebound. It was the start of a long night for DSU on the boards as the Hornets gave up 14 offensive rebounds in the first half as they slumped to a 32-20 deficit at the break.

“We came out too flat and the real difference was rebounding,” Walker said. “We just allowed too many second-shot opportunities. You can’t allow a team that many second-shot attempts

“The Morgan guys were just going after it. A majority of rebounding is just a mentality that you’ve got to have. We’ve got to do a better job on being aggressive and the fundamentals of rebounding.”

All of those offensive rebounds led to 75 shot attempts by Morgan State.

Morgan Jr. was the only DelState player in double figures. Sophomore Dana Raysor was the second-leading scorer with nine points, all in the second half due to sitting out most of the first with two fouls. Todd Hughes, a Smyrna native, added eight points.

The slow start in the first half was influenced by DSU’s 12 turnovers in the half compared to just two by the Bears.

Three of DSU’s starters were playing in the first MEAC game of their career, but Morgan Jr. said that is no excuse.

“I just think it comes down to execution not inexperience,” he said.

Free throws

Morgan Jr.’s 27 points is a season-high for the Hornets. He also was DSU’s top rebounder with seven. … Delaware State shot a better percentage from the floor, 40.9 percent (18-of-44), than Morgan State, 33.3 percent (25-75). … Andre Horne, a Newark High product, scored 13 points for Morgan State. … The Hornets host Howard on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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