Traevon Benjamin, Staff Writer
In the final 10 seconds of Senior Night, Morgan State University held a two-point lead over Coppin State University. Hoping for a chance to get the ball back and go for a tie or the win, the Eagles instead made the mistake of fouling the Bears, allowing them to put away the game 71-66.
Junior guard Tiwian Kendley finished with 21 points and five rebounds, junior forward Phillip Carr had
a double-double and senior Kyle Thomas finished with 16 points and three rebounds in his last game at the Field House.
“I was definitely excited about tonight’s game and it feels good to beat them in my last game at the field house,” said Thomas. “I’m proud of my guys they came out and played hard.”
In the first possession of the game, Kendley drove to the rim on a drive but was slow to get up, taking him out of the game. Within minutes, he came back in the game and made a great impact, knocking down his first three-pointer and converting two back-to-back transition dunks to put the Bears up 14-8 early on.
“My team played well tonight, my guys have faith in me to make plays but as a team to get this win, it just shows how much we have grown since the start of this season and toughen it out in the last game,” said Kendley.
Coppin State freshman guard Dejuan Clayton would not let his Eagles be put away early as he aggressively attacked the rim, yet the Eagles trailed by ten 25-15 midway through the first half. In the Bears’ last possession of the half, Thomas took advantage of a size mismatch in isolation on the right wing to score over his defender and put the Bears up 43-28.
Only a minute into the second half, things were getting intense between the rival schools as there was a slight scuffle between Kendley and Eagles’ Chas Brown.
The Bears appeared to have all the momentum of the game about halfway through the second half as sophomore guard Martez Cameron turned a steal into a lob to freshman forward David Syfax for the alley-oop to put the Bears up 57-41.
Brown was a force in the paint for the Eagles on the evening connecting on more than three tough dunks. His last dunk narrowed his team’s deficit to nine and the Bears led 59-48 with five minutes left in the game.
At the two-minute mark, Clayton was fouled shooting a three-pointer and connected on all three free throws that capped off a 12-0 run as they trailed only by two at 64-62.
Coppin State looked like they were going to try to take the lead to win the game before Brown’s costly foul on Kendley all but cemented the victory for the Bears.
“I think defense was the key to the win despite up to the end and I credit Coppin State’s defense as well,” Bozeman said. “They made our guys uncomfortable which caused turnovers for us.”
The win puts the Bears at an even 14-14 (11-4 MEAC with one game left before the MEAC Tournament.
“Tiwian has been tough for us all season scoring the ball, Phil was a force on the boards tonight and Martez Cameron handled the ball pretty well for us, only having one turnover in the game,” said Bozeman. “Our senior Kyle Thomas played big for us tonight. That’s how seniors how are supposed to play and he helped lead us over the hump tonight.”
The Bears will conclude their season at University of Maryland Eastern Shore on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.