Coppin rolls over Morgan State, 85-58

January 25, 1991|By Jerry Bembry

It was business as usual last night at the Coppin Center, as Reggie Isaac and Larry Stewart combined for 60 points and the Eagles won their 20th straight at home, 85-58, over Morgan State.

The Bears (3-14, 2-5 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) had a two-game winning streak going in and played tough for a half, but Isaac scored 18 of his points in the second half, as Coppin (9-8, 5-1) won its fifth straight game before a near-sellout crowd of 2,800.

"Right now, we're playing good defense as a team," Coppin coach Fang Mitchell said. "Teams can play as many gadget defenses against us, but as long as we play good defense, we're all right."

Morgan played a box-and-one against Isaac to start the game. The 6-foot-3 guard, whose 24.4 scoring average going in ranked him 21st in the nation, scored 13 in the first half, then hit his stride in the second.

After Morgan's Ural Hogans scored the first basket of the second half to bring the Bears within 40-34, Isaac scored six straight to increase the lead to 46-34. Then, Coppin reserve Tariq Saunders scored eight straight to start a 30-17 run that ended with Isaac's three-pointer, giving Coppin a 76-51 lead, and the Eagles coasted from there.

Morgan center Marcus Sheffield scored a team-high 16, but Morgan coach Michael Holmes said he was hindered by the flu.

The Bears also were hurt by 18 first-half turnovers -- nine by guard Alex Parker.

"He did the best he could and you learn by doing," said Holmes, who had Parker (10 turnovers total) playing some point guard. "It seemed like our guys were tense, and that does a lot to you. It was a big game playing among friends, and for the most part they played uncomfortably."

Isaac started the game with a three-pointer, and the Eagles, aided by two dunks from Stewart and one by Larry McCollum, took a 15-4 lead.

Morgan was held to three field goals in the first 10 minutes. But the Bears never were on the verge of being blown out in the first half and -- with the box-and-one on Isaac -- got within 26-20 on Raylon Adams' jumper with 5 minutes, 51 seconds left.

The Eagles were up, 36-28, after two free throws by Stewart with 1:38left, but Adams scored on a layup and Marcus Sheffield hit two free throws to pull the Bears within 36-32 with 1:04 remaining. Stewart scored on a stick-back and Isaac hit a jumper at the buzzer for the 40-32 halftime lead.

Coppin shot 50 percent for the half, but had 14 turnovers.

"You just have to give Morgan credit," Mitchell said. "They hung in there all 40 minutes, and you expect that in a city game."

Stewart, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored 28 (nine of 14 from the field) and pulled down 16 rebounds (his 13.2 average going in ranked him fifth in the nation).

After losing its MEAC opener at South Carolina State, the Eagles are tied with Delaware State for first place in the league. Coppin will be at Howard Sunday, then will travel to Dover Tuesday to face Delaware State in what may be a first-place showdown.

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