Morgan State men’s basketball team moved up to third place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) standings after edging out the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 65-61, on March 1 at the Hill Field House in Baltimore, Md.
But the win March 1 didn’t come easy for Morgan State, despite Bethune-Cookman’s dismal 4-11 record against MEAC competition. The Wildcats challenged Morgan State for the lead throughout the game, according to Morgan Sate Sports Information. Even after being up by as many as 17 points in the second half, Bethune-Cookman came charging back to make it a close-score game. The Wildcats cut the lead to just two points with less than a minute left in the game, but Morgan State’s sophomore forward Cedric Blossom nailed clutch free throws in the final seconds to secure the win.
With only two games left on the regular season schedule, the Bears (13-11 overall, 10-3 MEAC) now trail only North Carolina Central and Hampton for the top seed in the upcoming MEAC Tournament. Morgan State’s chances of surpassing N.C. Central or Hampton are slim to none, but their win over Bethune-Cookman gave them the tiebreaker over Norfolk State for third place, which could result in a bye in the opening round of the MEAC Tournament
"Obviously I'm glad we won the game, but it wasn't' pretty and we've got to do better," said Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman, according to MSU Sports Information Director Leonard Haynes. "So we've got to get out of whatever it is we're in, because we can't keep doing it like that. That wasn't good. That wasn't the way we play basketball — we took a step backwards today."
Morgan Sate leaned on senior center Ian Chiles for most of its offensive production. Chiles finished with a game-high 23 points, while Blossom followed with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman guard Clemmye Owens led Bethune-Cookman with 18 points in the loss.
Morgan State will next face Florida A&M on March 3, followed by their season finale against Howard on March 6. The MEAC Tournament starts March 10.