Morgan State went to its stratosphere players, 6-foot-8 Anthony Young and 6-6 Garcia Hopkins, in the second half and the two leapers combined for 30 of the Bears' final 41 points to grab an 80-74 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory over Howard last night.
The visitors, 1-0 in conference play and 10-3 overall, didn't need much of a game plan. The other three Morgan players simply passed the ball to Young on Hopkins and stood back and watched.
Howard's players also did a little too much spectating. On more than one occasion, Howard defenders gave the agile Young too much room and the smooth senior from Brooklyn, N.Y., fired in jump shots from 16 to 20 feet until he tired. He hit seven of eight after intermission, including three in a row that gave the Bears a 61-56 lead with 7 1/2 minutes to play.
Howard had little offense in the second half. Only four deep jumpers by point guard Louis Wilson kept Howard in the game until the final munutes.
A Wilson basket pulled Howard within a basket, 64-66, with four minutes left. Then Hopkins, a former All-Met from DuVal High School, went to work.
Hopkins took a high lob pass, a play that worked all night because Howard had no one who could fly, and dropped in a layup to put Morgan up 70-66.
Dorian Dent, who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds, put in a layup to pull Howard within one basket again.
Hopkins then made a twisting 12-footer from the lane that seemed to take out of the Bison what sting they had left. Despite being clousely guarded by Howard's Lawrence Norfleet, Garcia flashed across the lane and arched his body up and over his 6-8 defender and sank the shot.
Morgan State went to a delay game with 3 1/2 minutes to play and the Bison, now 1-1 in the MEAC and 9-4 overall, had little choice but to foul. Young, who led all scorers with 28 points, and Garcia, who finished with 21, could now take well-deserved rests.
Guards Robert Brown and Darrell Davis controlled the ball out front until they were fouled. Davis dropped in five from the free throw line and added a layup. Brown sank a pair of free throws in the final two minutes.
Howard's last hurrah ended with 29 seconds to play when Davis made a free throw to cut the Bear lead to 78-72.
The Howard-Morgan State games always have been spirited and usually close. Last night's classic was no exception.
Howard won almost everything in the first half: the backboard war, the turnover count and the most shots attempted. But MSU was never rattled and maintained a slim lead throughout the first 20 minutes. Two quick baskets by Larry Spriggs pulled Howard within two points at halftime, 39-37.
"We didn't to anything the second half. We played scared," said Howard Coach A. B. Williamson "We just didn't get aggressive"
Morgan State showed a bit of the jitters in the face of the partisan crowd in the opening minutes of the second half by committing five of its 14 turnovers. But Young hit three straight 20-footers from the same spot on the floor and the Bears settled down.
While the other three Bear players rested, Young hit from the perimeter and Hopkins dropped them in from above. At one point, the two ha accounted for 30 of the Bears' 32 points.
"They're our top two scorers, and the guys will go to them," said Morgan State Coach Gus Buydon. They hit the shots they took until the other players helped out at the end."
Howard outrebounded the Bears, 38-32, but the Bison hit only 40 percent (34 of 85) from the floor. The Bears, thanks to Young's 11-for-15 performance, made 30 of 62 from the field.
Young was averaging 15.3 points and seven rebounds and Hopkins had averages of 24.3 points and 8.3 rebounds coming into last night's game.