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Bethune-Cookman (14-19) vs. Morgan State (16-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Norfolk Scope Arena (10,253) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: B-CU 9-4, MSU 5-4. Away Record: B-CU 2-15, MSU 9-9. Neutral Record: B-CU 3-0, MSU 2-1. Conference Record: B-CU 7-9, MSU 10-6. Series Record: Morgan State leads, 31-22.
GAME NOTES: The eighth-seeded Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and the fifth-seeded Morgan State Bears will face off in an unlikely semifinal-round bout in the 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday night.
The winner will advance to Saturday's championship game to play either Delaware State or NC A&T.
After taking care of business against Coppin State in the opening round, Bethune-Cookman shocked the MEAC in Wednesday's quarterfinals with a 70-68 overtime triumph over top-seeded Norfolk State, which hadn't lost a conference game all season. The Wildcats are getting hot at the perfect time, as they are still just 14-19 overall this season.
Morgan State is currently the MEAC's hottest team, as it has won seven in a row to surge all the way to 16-14. After winning in the first round against 12th-seeded South Carolina State (61-52), the Bears pulled off an upset of fourth-seeded Savannah State in overtime in Thursday's quarterfinals, 64-61.
Morgan State holds a 31-22 advantage over Bethune-Cookman in the all-time series, although the teams did not play one another this season.
Bethune-Cookman trailed for the majority of its quarterfinal bout, including by 13 early in the second half, but it came storming back to tie the game on a Adrien Coleman layup with 1:13 to force overtime, and after scoring the first bucket of the extra session it never trailed again. Coleman was a difference- maker in the upset, logging 24 points and 13 rebounds. Kevin Dukes and Paul Scotland netted 11 points apiece, while Alex Smith registered 12 points and four blocks from off the bench. Despite getting outshot from field by their opponents this season, 41.7 percent to 45 percent, the Wildcats score nearly as many points (67.0 ppg) as they allow (67.8 ppg). Coleman is one of the MEAC's best players, scoring 18.1 ppg on 54.4 percent from the field to go with 7.4 rpg, 3.0 apg and 1.4 spg. Dukes is the only player averaging in double figures with 10.8 ppg, albeit on just 35.2 percent shooting.
Down by three points with 40 seconds left in its latest game, Morgan State got a 3-pointer from Justin Black to force overtime, and Black came through again in the extra session with a game-winning long-range bucket in the final minute to lift his team to victory. Black finished his outstanding night with 20 points on 6-of-12 from the field, Ian Chiles had 14 points and four blocks, Anthony Hubbard came off the bench to tally 13 points and seven rebounds, while DeWayne Jackson netted 11 points in the winning effort. On the season, the Bears are one of the few teams in the MEAC that sport a positive scoring margin, as they tally 67.7 ppg while allowing 65.7 ppg. Black has been the team's leading scorer all season long, pouring in 14.3 ppg on greater than 44 percent from the field. Jackson is hot on his heels with 13.5 ppg, while Hubbard brings 11.5 ppg and 6.7 rpg to the table.
In an upside down MEAC Tournament where all four of the top seeds have been eliminated prior to the semifinals, anything can happen. Bethune-Cookman, while lackluster for most of the season, has gotten hot at the right time, but Morgan State has been playing great for the last month and should find a way to advance to the championship round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morgan State 66, Bethune-Cookman 60
03/15 10:35:34 ET