Morgan State Holds Off Hartford
By: Ethan Hennessy
Morgan State stepped out of MEAC play on Wednesday night to welcome one of the two division one independent teams, Hartford, to Hill Fieldhouse. Hartford shot the ball well to open the game. Their stars Michael Dunne and Briggs McClain combined for 16 of the Hawks first 21 points, and Hartford found themselves tied with the first place MEAC team at the under twelve media timeout. When discussing Hartford’s hot start after the game with the media Morgan State head coach Kevin Broadus said “A lot of times kids look at other teams records and then they play off of that, but we’re not good enough to do that. We have to play every game the same way.” On the other side Hartford coach Tom Devitt said they were focused on the start after Morgan State got off to a great start up in Hartford on December 30th. Despite the hot shooting from the Hawks the Bears gradually overtook Hartford thanks to Morgan relentlessly driving the lane and getting tough layups at the rim.
Both teams shot 60+% from three in the first half and Morgan State took a 47-44 lead into halftime. Hartford kept it close early in the second half but in between the first and second media timeouts Morgan extended the lead to double digits 62-52. Just when it looked like Morgan would pull away the scrappy Hawks kept fighting and got it down to single digits.
Even in the closing minutes the game was never fully decided. Hartford got it to seven at the final minute, and six with over 30 seconds to play as they fouled Morgan State players to keep the game alive. Isaiah Burke scored is 1,000th career point in the final minute when he swished the second of two free throws. Morgan State coach Kevin Broadus said after the game Burke has grown “Four years in the program he wasn’t always were he is at now… he’s a senior and now he’s taken the next step and taken leadership. He sees the game differently than he did the last two or three years.” Morgan State managed to hold off the Hawks 92-84.
Up next for the Bears they hit the road to play Kenneth Blakeney’s Howard squad in Washington D.C. For Hartford with only eight division one regular season games left in program history they begin a five game homestand on Monday when they welcome the Penn Quakers to Chase Arena.