NORFOLK, Va. — Senior Kannon Burrage scored a game-high 18 points, but Morgan State shot 53.8 percent in the first half en route to a 71-59 victory on Friday in the first game of this weekend's season-opening Liberty Tax Classic.
Burrage was joined in double figures by senior Michael Hale III, who was 4-of-8 from the 3-point line and finished with 15 points, as the Roadrunners fell to 21-11 all-time in season openers.
Meanwhile, Anthony Hubbard posted a double-double of 17 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Bears. DeWayne Jackson added 15 points, while Justin Black chipped in with a dozen.
UTSA scored the game’s first two baskets for an early 4-0 lead.
Senior Larry Wilkins came away with a steal for one of 13 Morgan State first-half turnovers and he found Burrage for a layup before the San Antonio native hit a 17-foot jumper of his own.
The Bears responded with five consecutive points to take their first lead of the contest.
A Burrage 3-pointer with 15:39 to play in the first half gave UTSA a one point advantage at 8-7, but it proved to be its final lead of the evening.
Four different players scored in a 12-0 run for Morgan State that gave the designated visitors a 19-8 cushion.
The Roadrunners came back with a 10-3 spurt of their own that was ignited by a 3-pointer from junior Jordan Sims.
Classmate Jeromie Hill followed with a free throw before another Burrage 3-pointer. After a 3-point play by Anthony Hubbard, junior Tyler Wood hit a trey to pull the squad to within four (22-18) with 7:38 on the clock.
However, the Bears outscored UTSA 20-10 the rest of period and took a 42-28 edge into halftime.
The Roadrunners opened the second half with a 7-2 run that included baskets by Sims and Burrage and the stretch was capped with a Hale III 3-pointer, which made it 44-35.
The Bears again battled back and established a double-digit advantage.
Trailing 50-35, UTSA made one final push with 9-0 run, but it got no closer than six the rest of the way.
A free throw by Burrage pulled the Roadrunners to within nine at 68-59 with three minutes to play, but the Morgan State held UTSA scoreless from that point and cruised to the 12-point victory.
The Birds scored 27 points off of 24 Bears miscues, but they shot just 32.7 percent for the game and 46.2 percent from the free-throw line. Hill led the way with three steals to go along with his eight points and five rebounds.
Morgan State shot 47.2 percent from the floor and held a commanding 38-15 advantage in the paint.
UTSA will return action at 4 p.m. (CT) on Saturday when it faces Holy Cross, which edged tournament host Old Dominion, 46-45, in the event's second contest.