In a game with important stakes in the MEAC standings, the Morgan State Bears came out victorious fighting off the reigning conference champion Norfolk State Spartans 77-71 on Monday night.
Both teams entered this contest with a 3-1 conference record that placed them in a five-way tie for first place in the MEAC along with Maryland-Eastern Shore, North Carolina Central, and Howard.
Morgan State guard Will Thomas led all scorers with 21 points and 11 rebounds, good for his first double-double of the season. He also connected on a season-high three 3-pointers in the game.
His teammate, Isaiah Burke, had the hot hand from deep connecting on five threes on his way finishing with 21 points. He added four assists, three rebounds, and three steals.
Norfolk State was led by forward Kris Bankston who scored a season-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, adding eight rebounds and two steals.
It was a rough night for the Spartans from 3-point range, going 0-for-13 from deep. All-MEAC guard Joe Bryant Jr. missed all eight of his attempts from distance. Bryant, however, was still able to contribute 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists despite shooting woes.
Morgan State blitzed Norfolk State in the first five minutes of the game going up 14-0 before taking a 23-6 lead.
The Spartans did their best to battle back to eventually trim the lead to single digits but still trailed by double digits at the half.
Norfolk went on a 25-10 run of their own to start the second half to decrease their deficit to just two points with over 14 minutes left.
Through adversity, the Bears remained poised and never surrendered their lead.
Morgan State improves to 11-9 on the season and 4-1 in the conference while Norfolk State drops to 13-7 overall and 3-2 in the MEAC.