NORFOLK, Va. — Third-seeded Morgan State guard Justin Black made his first six second-half shots as the Golden Bears blitzed the No. 6 Florida A&M Rattlers 81-68 Thursday night in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Association tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at the Scope Arena.
The Bears (14-15) will meet No. 7 Coppin State in a “Battle of Baltimore” semifinal Friday at 8 p.m. Coppin State will be playing for the third time in three days after ousting Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday and No. 2 Hampton on Wednesday.
A first-team All-MEAC selection, Black scored 14 points and hit two 3-pointers during his second-half barrage as the Bears expanded a two-point halftime lead to 19 with less than 11 minutes remaining. The Rattlers trailed by at least 10 points the rest of the way.
Black led all scorers with 29 points, all but eight coming after the break, on 10 of 14 shooting from the field. Center Ian Chiles added 15 points for the Bears, who shot 57.7 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes. Morgan State also out-rebounded Florida A&M 48-31.
Guard Jamie Adams scored 26 points to lead Florida A&M (14-18).
The Rattlers started quickly, as two 3-pointers by Adams helped them take a 10-4 lead. However, guard Torin Childs-Harris capped a 12-0 Morgan State run with a 3-pointer, and the Bears maintained a slight edge throughout most of the half.
Florida A&M finally drew even at 29 inside the final minute on forward Pierre Crawford’s layup, but Morgan State used two free throws to go into the break ahead 31-29.
Black scored eight first-half points to lead Morgan State, which shot 36.1 percent from the field before the break while outrebounding the Rattlers 28-15 and scoring 13 second-chance points.
Adams and forward Christopher Rozier each scored six first-half points to pace Florida A&M. The Rattlers made 40 percent of their first-half shots.
NOTES: Morgan State was the only team in the tournament that had yet to play a game. The Bears received a bye in the first round. Florida A&M advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Delaware State 65-61 Tuesday. … Florida A&M’s late-season, five-game winning streak included a 78-73 victory over Morgan State in Baltimore. … Morgan State reached the MEAC tournament final in five of the previous seven years and won two titles under head coach Todd Bozeman. The Bears fell to North Carolina A&T in the 2013 title game.
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