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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Norfolk Scope Arena (10,253) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 5-4, SSU 11-3. Away Record: MSU 8-9, SSU 7-10. Neutral Record: MSU 2-1, SSU 1-0. Conference Record: MSU 10-6, SSU 11-5. Series Record: Savannah State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The fifth-seeded Morgan State Bears and the fourth-seeded Savannah State Tigers square off in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night at Norfolk Scope Arena.
The winner will advance to Friday night's semifinals to play Bethune-Cookman.
Morgan State took care of business in its first-round matchup with South Carolina State, winning 61-52. The Bears are one of the MEAC's hottest teams, as they have won six straight games and nine of their last 10 to improve to 15-14 overall.
As for Savannah State (19-13), it finished the MEAC season at 11-5 but missed out on a first-round bye after losing the tie-breaker to third-seeded Hampton. The Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals following a 59-44 triumph over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday, their second straight win over UMES after beating it in the regular-season finale (71-54).
Savannah State dropped Morgan State in double-overtime on Jan. 14, 78-70, and it has now won both meetings in the all-time series.
After trailing SC State at the half of its opening round game, Morgan State took control after intermission to go on to the nine-point victory. The squad shot 43.8 percent from the floor on the evening and had four players in double figures, led by a 16-point effort from Anthony Hubbard off the bench. DeWayne Jackson added 12 points, while Ian Chiles and Shaquille Duncan chipped in 10 points apiece. On the season, the Bears are one of the few teams in the MEAC that actually scores more points (67.7 ppg) than they surrender to opponents (65.7 ppg). Justin Black leads the way with 14.1 ppg. Jackson is right on his heels with 13.6 ppg and he's a great defender as well with 1.8 spg and 1.0 bpg. Hubbard (11.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Chiles (9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg) are solid in the paint.
Despite scoring less than 60 points, SSU still had an impressive offensive game in its first round win, shooting 51.1 percent from the field, including 8-of-17 from 3-point range, all while holding UMES to just 16 field goals in the 15-point victory. Deven Williams enjoyed a career-night, scoring 26 points on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc. Preston Blackman netted 12 points in the winning effort, while Rashad Hassan chipped in 10 points. The Tigers have found a similar formula for winning all season long, as their offensive attack is below average (56.4 ppg) yet they play outstanding defense (54.9 ppg). Hassan shoots 54 percent from the floor for 12.8 ppg, and Blackman tallies 12.0 ppg and has handed out 111 assists (3.5 pg) but has also committed 116 turnovers. Arnold Louis (8.1 ppg) grabs a team-high 7.7 rpg.
Morgan State has turned it on of late and is ready to avenge its loss earlier in the season to SSU, but in the end, the Tigers' stout defense will be too much for the Bears to overcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Savannah State 58, Morgan State 55
03/14 10:51:29 ET