GAME NOTES: The Morgan State Bears and High Point Panthers square off this weekend in BracketBuster action at the Millis Center.
Todd Bozeman's seventh season with the Bears hasn't exactly gone according to plan. Morgan State comes in with a less than respectable 9-14 overall mark, although the team is .500 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play at 6-6. The Bears most recently had a three-game win streak halted with Monday's 52-50 road loss at Delaware State.
The Panthers on the other hand come into this contest with a full head of steam, as they captured the Big South's North Division crown with a 78-67 victory over VMI on Tuesday. The win over the Keydets was the seventh straight for High Point, which is now 16-10 overall and 11-3 in Big South action.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Bears came out of the gates fast and actually held a 16-point lead over Delaware State at one point, but couldn't sustain the effort and finally lost a two-point decision in Dover. DeWayne Jackson and Justin Black were the only Bears to notch double digits in the loss, finishing with 10 points apiece. Jackson almost completed a double-double with his team-high nine rebounds.
Offensively, Morgan State has been mediocre at best, shooting a modest .439 from the floor and putting up 66.9 ppg. Still, scoring depth comes in the form of three players currently averaging double-digit points, led by Jackson's 14.0 ppg. Black is a close second at 13.9 ppg, while Anthony Hubbard rounds out the trio at 11.7 ppg, while pacing the Bears on the glass with 6.9 rpg.
The Panthers trailed by 13 points in the first half, but used a 15-4 run in the second half to get back in the game against VMI, eventually pulling out the win and earning the top-seed in the North for the upcoming Big South Tournament. Redshirt freshman John Brown led the charge for High Point, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds in the win. Dejuan McGaughy and Adam Weary checked in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Panthers are a solid offensive squad, averaging 73.1 ppg on .453 shooting. High Point enjoys a +7.3 scoring margin, a +3.4 rebounding margin and a +2.0 turnover margin. The team's frontcourt duo of Brown (16.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Allan Chaney (14.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg) has fueled its success this year. Both are shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Weary provides a third scoring option out of the backcourt with 10.0 ppg.
The Panthers are on a roll right now and getting this game at home tips the scales even further in High Point's favor.
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