January 14, 2008 11:19 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
Morgan State at Norfolk State
Echols Arena - Norfolk, VA
9:00 PM EST
Just another MEAC Monday. There are four remaining 2-0 teams in the conference, and two of them will be on display for your enjoyment if you're a member of the tight-knit family of ESPNU subscribers. It's part of the network's wonderful series of HBCU doubleheaders (disappointing prohibitive SWAC favorite Mississippi Valley State travels to Alabama State in the first game), the quality and production standards of which have improved immensely over two-plus years. It's good to see these conferences get a showcase, and more importantly some respect.
Respect is something that Norfolk State (5-8, 2-0) got very little of in the preseason -- little was expected from a young team with very few seniors, a squad with an interim coach since Dwight Freeman was "reassigned" to the front office after going 63-75 in five seasons. Anthony Evans, a four-year assistant there, was I-tagged to lead the Spartans this season, and he's done a good enough job. NSU has a three-game win streak heading into this TV game, having beaten the OVC's Jacksonville State and indie N.C. Central to close the preseason, then taking out Coppin State on Saturday. Junior Corey Lyons is the player to watch, he's averaging 14.8 ppg and has been the Spartans' most dangerous player.
But let's be honest here, this game is really a spotlight for Morgan State (7-7, 2-0). With preseason favorite North Carolina A&T struggling with chemistry problems and nonconference standout Hampton battling injuries, the Bears have emerged as the conference's to-beat team. We were witness to their basketballing power on Saturday, when they destroyed A&T on the road, 87-66. Morgan boasts three legitimate scoring threats across the size spectrum -- there's explosive 6-5 junior Marquise Kately (13.1 ppg) and senior leading-scoring guard Jamar Smith (19.1 ppg). Oh yeah, and their most efficient scorer and rebounder, 6-9 junior and daily segment namesake "The" Boubacar Coly, who's averaging 9.4 ppg and 9.9 rpg. Here's a picture from the game the other day, featuring No. 4 doing what one of the things he does... boxing out to grab a missed shot.
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