There is no place like home. Unfortunately for the University of the District of Columbia basketball team, it won't play there any more this season.
The nomadic Firebirds bid farewell with a flourish to friendly D.C. Armory last night, embarrassing Morgan State, 95-65, before 2,958 appreciative fans. UDC's ninth straight victory, two short of the school record, raised its mark to 14-7, 8-1 at home. The outclassed Bears lost their seventh straight and fell to 6-12.
The victory was clouded by a sprained ankle suffered by the Firebirds' main man, center Earl Jones. With 7:31 remaining, the 7-foot freshman had just put home an offensive rebound. "I stepped on somebody's foot on the way down," he said while resting on the sidelines, "and my left ankle twisted."
Jones was helped from the court and an ice pack was placed on the ankle. He was taken to Washington Hospital Center following the game. X-rays showed no fracture. Doctors said he probably could not run for 72 hours.
"I don't think it's too bad," said UDC Coach Wil Jones, whose club begins a regular-season-ending five-game road trip Tuesday night at Radford.
If the remaining opposition proves as futile as the Bears, it won't matter very much. The Firebirds went to the fast break at every opportunity and rarely gave the visitors more than one shot. Morgan trailed, 11-10, early in the first half, then spent the rest of the game trying to recover from UDC's offensive firepower.
The hosts led, 45-27, at halftime, then came back hungry for more.
"These guys better stay interested or they don't play," Jones said. "We've grown up a little bit, and we're playing good basketball. There's no one-on-one and no jacking the ball up."
There's just Michael Britt scoring from everywhere, as he proved with 25 points last night and Jones controlling the backboards, as he showed with 17 rebounds.
The Firebirds did not let up in the second half, consistently expanding their lead until they reached the final margin, their widest of the night.
The Bears' only bright spot was forward Yarharbrough Roberts, a silky 6-foot-5 sophomore who made 15 of 20 shots and led both clubs with 34 points. He received no help from his teammates, who committed 38 turnovers and were outrebounded, 59-19.