ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Junior guard Tiwian Kendley scored a game-high 29 points and junior guard Isiah Graves tallied 11 points off the bench in leading Morgan State to a 77-75 victory over host South Carolina State Monday night to remain in first place in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) action.
With the win, 11-year head coach Todd Bozeman becomes the school’s all-time winningest coach with 167 victories. Coach Bozeman surpasses former Bears skipper Nathaniel Frazier (1972-77, 1986-89) who left the program with a record of 166-121 in 10 seasons. Coach Bozeman now owns an MSU career overall mark of 167-173 for a .491 winning percentage.
“It’s special, it’s special,” said Bozeman about setting the school record. “I’m excited for Morgan State and for just the years to come. It’s special, it’s very special.”
Bozeman spoke about his team grinding out a win in what was certainly an exciting game.
“It feels really good,” Bozeman said. “For a minute there we ended up scrapping. To be down and only play five guards, because we had a lot of our post guys in foul trouble. We just couldn’t handle the pick-and-roll, so I just went to all guards and said ‘hey guys we’re just going to go small and grind it out and see how tough you are.'”
“To their credit… Tiwian Kendley – he’s a warrior. He’s a soldier. And Martez [Cameron] huddled the guys up at halftime and said ‘Coach let me talk to my team’… and they came out with fire. The guys stepped and made big shots.”
Kendley poured in another big game for the Bears. The Harlem native was 7-of-17 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3-point territory and went 13-of-14 at the charity stripe. His 29-point effort marked his seventh 20-point effort in 12 games.
Morgan State’s (8-11, 5-1) bench played a critical role in tonight’s contest, scoring almost 50 percent of the team’s points as the reserves tallied 31 points on the night. The most important points off the bench came by way of Isiah Graves.
The Bears trailed throughout most of the game and found themselves down 61-49 following a 3-pointer by SCSU’s Edward Stephens with 9:15 to go. But that’s when the Bears began clawing back. Graves buried a three-pointer that ignited a 17-4 run over a four-minute stretch. The 5-9 guard scored 8 points during the span, including his second 3-pointer with 4:08 left to go up 66-65.
SCSU (5-13, 2-3 MEAC) James “JJ” Richardson then sank a pair of free throws at the other end to briefly put the Bulldogs back on top before the Bears used a 6-1 spurt fueled by Kendley and Graves to retake the advantage for good.
Kyle Thomas and Tyler Streeter had 10 apiece for the Bears who finished the game shooting 48.3 percent in the second half, including 8-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc.
Richardson paced the Bulldogs with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Greg Mortimer added 15.
SCSU was out-rebounded by a 35-26 margin by the Bears, and had a poor night at the free throw line where they shot 62 percent (18-29).
Morgan State hopes to continue its winning ways this Saturday, January 28 as the Bears take on cross-town rival Coppin State (5-16, 4-2 MEAC). Tip-off is at 4 pm. at the PEC Arena.
Bozeman had a special note for some people that made it possible for him to achieve the school record:
Special night tonight thank you to all who played a part. Thank you Tee, Blake, Brianna, Dr. Richardson, Dr. Wilson , Mike and the Bozeman ladies, Anwar, Black, Prue, Goodie, Sam, Reggie, Joe McLean, Ron T, Jerrell, Marquise,Jamar, Boub, Itchy, Rog, Stokes, Troy, Big Kev, Dwayne, Ameer, Gene & Vic (Rip), J Black, Slew, Hubb, Tae, Shaq, Ced, ReSean, Bee, Stew, Hans, Glenn & All the present Bears & friends, if I missed anyone I’m sorry. #weareone #blessed #